photo credit: TERRY KEARNEY <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24490288@N04/22195790454″>Natures Trail to School</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Outside the Northeast Louisiana home of my mother-in-law, a decorative tree has drawn my attention. The colorful wind rustled leaves are a remarkable sight and I wondered if the tree held a story within. Fallen leaves danced in the road when carried by southern breezes and I pondered how easily we are scattered when apart from Jesus, the Vine.
The tree, so beautiful in the autumn season brought to mind the elderly, who radiate warmth and charm. The wise, in the spring and summer seasons of life, admire and emulate them. Yes, the tree could illustrate that truth.
This morning God opened my eyes of understanding. I gazed with delight and appreciation on the Thanksgiving tree. People decorate elaborate Christmas trees and I almost missed His gift of the Thanksgiving tree. Around the trunk of the tree, He had spread a blanket of multi colored leaves, perfectly distributed for maximum effect. The symmetrical tree held only a few uneven branches pointing to the Creator above.
The focal message lay in the colors used by the artist: green, red, and orange. Green represents everlasting life, His gift to all who believe in His Son. (John 3:16) Red symbolizes the blood of Christ Jesus, sacrificed to pay for our sins. (Ephesians 1:7) Orange signifies lives aglow with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 7:55) I already anticipate next Thanksgiving Day. The Father will provide Thanksgiving trees as visible reminders of His great love for you and me.
We open wide thankful hearts when we receive the Lord’s undeserved blessings. In those exciting times we find it easy to offer praise and thanksgiving to God. Do we selfishly limit our boundaries? Maybe we need to develop a “constant thanksgiving plan” in all circumstances.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJ).” Unlimited thanksgiving will stretch us and also offers the potential of a greatly expanded witness. To be thankful in everything is certainly not a normal response! The key is to remember we are not instructed to thank God for everything, but in everything. Evil and hardship we face are not the source of thankfulness; and we face them with inner turmoil. In everything we can give thanks for God’s faithfulness and love! Maybe we can positively influence others to see God’s tender hand in everything. The sky is the limit!