Expressing gratitude when things are going your way is easy. Being thankful anyways…that’s stepping up.

I want to send some encouragement out to you if you’re struggling with the whole idea of “thanksgiving.” In just a few days here in the U.S., we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, an official holiday originally established by America’s first President, George Washington, in 1789.

Despite all the pre-Christmas cheer already in full swing, Thanksgiving Day still gets its time of celebration.  I used to object when people started to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Having worked in the field of marketing for so many years, I thought they were just being brainwashed by businesses that every year would try enticing shoppers earlier and earlier. Now, however, I don’t mind so much. If you get excited about Christmas, that’s a great thing. In fact, the true Spirit of Christmas is something we should keep in our hearts all year long. (There’s a nice Classic Country song about that.)

But…it is appropriate for you to pause for Thanksgiving, even if you’re going through a mess right now. Why? Because gratitude expresses faith, and being grateful even in the midst of life’s many storms expresses a strong hope and faith that you—and those around you—really need right now.

Can I remind us both of something, dear friend? Life isn’t just about us. What happens to us isn’t just about us. What we think and do are not just about us either.

Whether you realize it or not, you are surrounded by people who are affected by the energy of your belief, hope, and faith. We need you. When we see you overcoming the pain of your battles, when we see your character being tested and your attitude staying positive, when we see you being grateful for blessings both big and small while you are in the fight (being thankful anyways), your hope, your faith, your love, and your strength also keep all of us motivated, fighting, and winning. We need you.

If you are having a difficult time finding something to be thankful for right now, it is only because you are searching in the wrong place. If you’re looking to your circumstances, your environment, to people, success, or to your past, your thankfulness will be based on an unpredictable, ever-changing, and unreliable foundation. The object of your gratitude must be trustworthy, constant, and solid.

In the classic A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Linus got this right when Charlie Brown’s friends all came over for a Thanksgiving “dinner” and it came time for someone to pray. You can watch a clip of it here, but this is what Linus said:

“In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: ‘We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.”

The Pilgrims of 1621 understood that the basics of life come from God—home, food, and safety. They also recognized that He gives people opportunities to create and to do good. The object of their gratitude was a faithful God of provision and caring.

168 years later, President Washington observed the same. Here is what he said in his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789:

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

In Washington’s day, most people recognized that the object of people’s gratitude should be “the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

So start there, my sweet friend. Step away from the fight; step out of the storm; quiet your ruminating mind and rampant emotions. Capture a few moments, and keep them for yourself. Then, during that precious time, acknowledge that through it all, God has indeed kept you going, has not forgotten you, and has actually been dropping blessing upon blessing at your feet…even through your most difficult trials. Thank Him for that. Be thankful anyways and, in the spirit of Christmas that is quickly approaching, watch your heart grow three sizes.    

I hope you all have a very happy, and blessed, Thanksgiving Day! And while we’re on the subject of thanks, I want to thank all of you for your support of Project Eden. You are an inspiration for me to keep persevering. Find enjoyment this week, friends. And keep being an awesome you!

Brief Project Eden Update

As mentioned in my last post, I am now working on my marketing plan prior to publication of Planet of Eden. You will soon be seeing changes to my website, reflecting the imminent publishing of the book in both print and digital format.

I’m making great progress, friends! At this time, it’s hard to commit to a solid date for the book release, but I am roughly targeting Summer 2024. There is much to do before launching a novel if you want to make it successful. As you know, I’m in this for the long haul, so I have to make sure everything is tight, professional, and as close to perfect as humanly possible before I put myself and Planet of Eden out there.

Oh, we’re getting there, though, fellow Edenites. And it’s getting exciting! Stay tuned.