Coming up with a clever, catchy “Thanksgiving Day” post can be a little like trying to re-write Gone With The Wind.  Ya just can’t improve on a classic.  I wasn’t even going to try this year.  Frankly, I was kinda “Thanksgiving-ed” out by yesterday.

Although Thanksgiving is traditionally family-oriented and a time to reunite with loved ones and gather around a roast turkey the size of Rhode Island, that’s not how our Thanksgivings typically run.  Parents on both sides have gone on to glory.  We live more than 1,000 miles from our nearest family members.  The rest are flung to the four winds, spread out across the country.  So weren’t not able to get together as often as we’d like, and almost never on Thanksgiving.   Since  my husband is in retail, Thanksgiving weekend is just another work weekend as the store struggles to stay in the black and hopes for a bang-up Christmas season.

So our Thanksgivings are a little… shall we say, “non-Norman Rockwellish”?   (After dinner, our immediate family usually gathers in the living room with pie and hot chocolate  and watches either A Day for Thanks on Walton’s Mountain or It’s A Wonderful Life.  Sometimes both.)

A quick look around “Thanksgiving” in the blogosphere usually brings up something like: “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” Or “How many people are you having over?”  “Are you traveling this Thanksgiving?”  “Who’s going to win the football game?” Or the well-worn classic, “What are you thankful for?”

Not to reiterate the obvious, but Thanksgiving is a holiday set aside to, uh… “give thanks.”  Count our blessings.  Lift our eyes off our self-soaked lives and look up to the Father of every good gift.  All well and good.

So why did I resist taking that route this year?  That route is easy.  Comfortable.  Expected.  It’s also a little … canned.  Predictable.  Rote?  Is that what Thanksgiving has turned into – “giving thanks” by rote – because we’re supposed to?

Lord, have mercy.

So this Thanksgiving, when some of us are still working off that third slice of pumpkin pie or that extra serving of gravy and mashed potatoes that we needed like a hole in the head, how ’bout launching into “thanksgiving mode” year-round instead of just the last part of November?  Rather than relegating thanks-giving to one season or weekend a year, what if we took the first five minutes of each day to lift our hearts to God in honest thanks?  What if we went through each twenty-hour stretch looking for at least one thing, person, or event for which we can be grateful? I don’t mean Pollyanna or pie-in-the-sky bye-and-bye syrupy stuff.  I mean something that requires alertness, deliberation, and exercising our “thankfulness muscles.”  Examples:

– “Lord, thank you for the 39th straight day of rain, a roof that doesn’t leak and the promise of an extra-green spring.”

– “Thank you for my boon canine companion (or feline),” as the case may be.

– “I’m grateful for hot showers and soap after an afternoon on the trail or in the garden!”

– “Thank you for this morning’s sunrise.”

– “Thank you for Corn Flakes and a bowl to eat them out of.”

– “Thank you that although Chris is working today, he had yesterday off to spend with the fam.”

Thanks also for:

Puccini arias, truth, faithfulness, libraries, friends and family, mercy, raspberry white chocolate cheesecake, poetry, lilacs, a good night’s sleep, divine guidance and providence, ice cream and…  what else?

If we develop the daily discipline of deliberate thankfulness, I’m willing to bet we’ll discover whole new horizons of  wonder and beauty that were there all along.  We didn’t see them because we weren’t looking for them. We’ll probably find answers to prayers that we may have forgotten about, splashes of grace and  delight that we somehow overlook in our every day busyness.  We may even experience God in a whole new way as we become intentional about acknowledging Him for Who He is and thanking Him for all He’s done for us.

Norman Rockwell or not, does that sound like an “exercise program” you can sign on to?  Who’s with me?