Psalm 116:17 “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.”
In truth it seems I always struggle emotionally at the holidays, both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love the blessings and the celebrations of the gifts the Lord has bestowed upon us all, yet I am forever pulled by strings of truth that reminds me of the hurt, the discord, and the resulting sadness that most families endure. “It doesn’t have to be so,” I often think with a sigh. If only each one would forgive and walk in love and humility, keeping no record of wrong, and commit to living peacefully in accordance with God’s Will, then we would have united families, grateful hearts, and unbridled joy. If only…
I’ve pondered over the years how to handle, to manage, the difficulties of relationships. How do we cope with things beyond our control? How do we find peace when we cannot agree, when resolution cannot be reached? There are those relationships, you know. When we can’t establish common ground. When forgiveness is withheld even after we’ve done all we know to do to receive it. When we reach out a hand in love and another refuses to take hold of the outstretched hand, there is nothing left for the extender to grasp. What then???
Oh, so very thankful, that God has a plan for such times. He lovingly accepts a repentant heart. He freely forgives and restores those with a contrite spirit. He makes His Joy our strength and offers peace that is beyond understanding. He has a way… a way of peace, for anyone who is willing to find it and walk in it. It doesn’t take away all of the hurt. It doesn’t restore the relationship with the loved one who refuses restoration, but it gives hope and healing to the heart of the one seeking rest and He becomes salvation for the broken.
We do not have to live with restless, unforgiving hearts. Pride is an ugly, ungiving, unfulfilling presence in the hearts of those who choose it over reconciliation, and it can be cast aside for a better way. What matters more than peace? What yields bitter and what yields sweet? So apparent is the truth when we simply observe. Forgiveness and reconciliation brings sweet harmony, gentle words, and kind, loving gestures. Prideful resistance yields cold and hateful attitudes, smug looks, and sharp words.
May we all draw near our Heavenly Father this Thanksgiving, with grateful, tender, and loving hearts. May we seek peace and reconciliation, good-will, and love. May love conquer all else and may we find our homes blessed in the covering of His goodness. For all who know Him, may we emulate His loving kindness and tender mercies, extending to all the forgiveness that has been granted to us through the gift of God’s Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.