The historical origins of America’s Thanksgiving holiday stem from a shared meal between our first Pilgrim settlers and their Native American neighbors. The death toll was high that first winter. The surviving Pilgrims had much to hold a grudge for, not the least being the death of 40% of their community. The harsh conditions of the New World made every day a miserable struggle. Yet, on that first Thanksgiving day they CHOSE to focus on the positives of life.

The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to farm the land. The first harvest netted a wonderful meal of vegetables along with wild game. The Pilgrims were thankful to be alive. They were thankful for the religious freedom afforded them in their new country. They were thankful for the natives who cared enough to teach them how to survive better in their new surroundings. And all these feelings of thankfulness were directed to the One True God who they credited for all these blessings.

Yet, you may feel you have little to be thankful for and hold a grudge against God for your situation in life. Often, we believe no one cares about us, values us, or finds us desirable. With lovingkindness I say to you, you are believing a lie from Satan. If you want to read words of sadness and depression, take a look at Psalms in the Bible. In the Message translation Chapter 42, verse 5 says: “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?”

No, I do not know your situation just as you do not know mine. We can play the  “Who has it the worst” game, but will it really accomplish any good thing? I know from experience it will not. God does know what you are facing. He loves you and wants to help you with all your struggles.

The verse continues as the writer makes a choice. “I will fix my eyes on God and soon I’ll be praising again.”

Therefore, I want to set my grudges aside and focus on the positive parts of my life. I tell God OUTLOUD I recognize the good things are from Him and I thank Him for them. What you ask? Let’s start with breath in my lungs and being alive today. I have food and water to sustain my life. I see the pretty changing colors of fall. I hear music I enjoy. I have friends to call when I feel discouraged. Most of all, Jesus Christ is my Savior. He is my friend. He helps me cope with the difficulties of life, as well as bring to my mind the answers to my prayers for help. I can feel better when I remember His love for me.

Even if you have to wipe away bitter tears and swallow your pride, choose to thank God for whatever you can and He will help drive the darkness and sadness away.

See how the Psalmist finishes his introspection? “He (God) puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. “

Yes, it is possible to be grateful in spite of feeling a grudge. Just release the grudge and trust God to give you joy.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.

 This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Message