Even in the absence of a loved one, God wants us to be thankful. According to Psalm 105: 1a (KJV) it states: “O Gives Thanks Unto The Lord…”
So whether it is your first or fourth Thanksgiving holiday without your loved one, being creative to avoid being with people is not the answer.
When my husband Charles died, that’s just what I wanted to do – avoid people. Of course, there were times that Charles and I celebrated Thanksgiving alone. Sometimes it was because he was not physically able to travel or the Iowa weather prohibited us from doing so and prevented others from getting to us, but at least we had each other. Now that Charles is no longer with me, the desire to be with others on Thanksgiving can be daunting.
There are so many scriptures in God’s Word about giving thanks. In reading I Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) which says: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I kept thinking to myself how in the world God expects me to give thanks for this – which in my mind the “this” referred to the death of Charles. Once I prayed and meditated on the words “in everything,” many things came to mind that I should render thanks for.
To name a few:
Charles’ death has left me with wonderful memories of him and our life together. Instead of dwelling on the void, I spend more time thinking of those treasured memories that I now have.
In Charles’ death, he is no longer physically suffering. Isaiah 57: 2b (NIV) says: “they find rest as they lie in death.” And I believe that Charles is now at rest and in the presence of God. Also, I am convinced that I will see Charles again. When I die because I, too, have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I will instantly be in the presence of God in heaven!
God’s Love. John 3:15 (KJV) states: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” To give of your only begotten son to die for others, that is the ultimate sacrifice. God did that for me when he allowed Jesus to die for my sins. That’s love! I could not have paid such a debt. Nor could anyone else!
My good health.
Thinking about these things – convicted me!
I decided God wanted me to realize that His Will takes precedence over what I want. He made it clear that “ in everything” I can give thanks since it is His Will concerning me.
Virtually every year since Charles’ death, I have attended Thanksgiving dinner with family members. If the weather was too bad for me to get there beforehand, God has allowed me to be able to travel on Thanksgiving Day.
In addition to God’s Words, I gleaned some tips from an article in the Huffington Post written by Carole Brody Fleet which shares four meaningful tips to help get through the Thanksgiving holiday.
Prepare something that was your loved one’s favorite or perhaps a dish that they used to make themselves.
Share a funny story about your loved one.
Do not be afraid to make changes.
Stop and take a moment to think about that for which you are thankful – your health, your family, your home, etc.
Finally, however you decide to honor Thanksgiving, it is my prayer that God will bless you to have a safe and memorable observance. And “O Give Thanks!”