One Little Word

Thanksgiving Snow

A fresh coat of snow on the ground, Christmas music playing on the radio, Rudolph on TV—it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas Thanksgiving??  I know with Thanksgiving being so late this year it allows less time for the Christmas preparations, but let’s not lose sight of Thanksgiving as a result.  I’m as guilty of looking ahead as the next person.  It is my prayer that we all pause and take time to reflect on our many blessings as we celebrate Thanksgiving, no matter what that day might look like for you.

The apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   How is that going for you?  I will confess that I am a ‘cup half empty’ person—more likely to grumble than praise.  That is my natural inclination.  It takes a concerted effort on my part to focus on the good and not get caught up in the bad. Can you relate?  Maybe you have discovered, just as I have, that it is well worth the effort.  Positivity breeds positivity and produces a big, beautiful snowball!

I have wrestled with this idea of giving thanks in ALL circumstances.  Let’s face it, bad stuff happens, stuff for which I do not feel thankful.  How about you?  Have you suffered a loss lately—loss of health, loss of a loved one, loss of your job, loss of a relationship, loss of _______(fill in the blank)? I’m guessing so.  Are you thankful for it? Me either.  So how are we to live out this verse?  I’d suggest reading it closer.  I believe the key is found in one little word.  It doesn’t say give thanks FOR all circumstances, but rather IN all circumstances.  Why does one tiny word make any difference?  I believe it all goes back to one of my favorite promises in the Bible—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).   The circumstance may not be good, but God is!  As His beloved children, we can be assured that He will use ALL of our circumstances for His glory and our good.  THAT is reason to be thankful!

While we offer thanks for our countless blessings on Thanksgiving, let’s be sure to thank God for the good that comes from our difficulties, even if we can’t yet see that good.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


The Unexpected

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog—The Ultimate Gift.  After numerous excuses on my part—too busy, not the right time, etc.—I decided it was time to follow Nike’s advice and “just do it.”  The ‘it’ I am referring to is answering the call to use my written words to glorify God by pointing others to Jesus, our true hope.

I really don’t know exactly what a blog is, but I found out that it’s a good place for an aspiring writer to start. The first step in setting up a blog is to come up with a domain name.  Of course my first choice,, was already taken so I had to choose an alternative. The math teacher in me jumped all over replacing ‘ate’ with 8!

As we close in on the end of November many of us are starting to think about Christmas and the preparations that come with it, myself included. I was doing some online shopping shortly before I decided to plunge into the blog arena. That could have played a role in my title selection.  I had gifts on my mind.  I am wondering how many people might stumble onto this site because they are searching for ‘the ultimate gift’ this holiday season and find something completely unexpected.  Divine intervention perhaps?

Whether you found this site on purpose or by accident,  I have good news.  The pressure to find the ultimate gift is off. Our Heavenly Father took care of that over 2000 years ago when He descended from heaven and came to earth in the flesh of a baby named Jesus. Talk about unexpected!  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17 NLT) Here’s the deal though—WE can’t give this gift, we can only receive it and share this Good News with others. Jesus can fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts, but we must invite Him in first. God won’t force us to unwrap the gift.  Having already opened it myself, I would ask, “What are you waiting for?”  There will never be a gift that will top it!

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)