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In memory of Joan O’Dell: A time of gratitude and praise

Margaret Brackett Contributing Columnist

November 27, 2013

It’s November and the air is getting cooler, leaves turning to brilliant autumn colors, and our thoughts shift to the fast approaching holiday — Thanksgiving. It’s normal to get caught up in excitement and activities of the season, making it easy for us to forget the true meaning that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God.


What does Thanksgiving mean to you? No matter what the past year held for you, Thanksgiving can be a time of gratitude and renewed hope.


Joan O’Dell was Newberry’s legendary commentator of spiritual leadership. She has passed on to an angelic holy world. In her memory, I shall share a past conversation on how she proposed the way to honor Thanksgiving. Our past annual conversations date back to over a decade. Her Christian faith opinions and Bible messages inspired reverence and thanksgiving in our lives. Despite the difficult times many have experienced in this country during the past year, there is still so much for which we have to be grateful. In fact, the word thanksgiving is a dominant theme that runs from Genesis to Revelation.


Joan referred to Psalm 100:4 — “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name.”


How often do we enter into God’s Presence with thanksgiving and praise? Most of the time we enter asking for our needs, His favors, and blessings. Yes, we need these things. But sometime we need to enter into God’s Presence just to worship Him, to thank Him for what He has already done for us, and not ask Him for anything.”


“We need to praise God for whom he is. He is the Great Creator – our Heavenly Father. We need to praise Him for sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on Calvary that we might have life and have it abundantly.”


Joan quoted Psalm 92:1-2 — “It is good to say, ‘Thank you’ to the Lord every morning. Tell him, thank you for your kindness, and every evening, rejoice in all his faithfulness.”


When you learn how to give thanks, you also learn how to love. Giving thanks increases the love in your heart. Faith and love constitute the whole character of the Christian. Faith receives, love gives. Faith brings us to God; love brings us to one another.


As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, one important way to show a grateful attitude toward others is to remember to say “I love you” to the special people in your life. Everyone needs to be loved and give love.


“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”— 1 Thessalonians 5-18.


In everything we should give thanks to God. The Lord will supply whatever we need, whenever we need it, wherever we need it. Giving thanks is a daily privilege. The act of thanksgiving should be part of our lives 365 days a year. Greet each day with thanks for your many blessings.


Do you want to make Thanksgiving Day the most inspirational of your life? Thank God who has blessed you and thank others who have benefited you. You will be uplifted to delight.