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Victor Post
  • When 'giving thanks' on Thanksgiving isn't easy

  • While much of the world is busy stuffing turkeys, counting blessings, and reuniting over opulent holiday tables, for some there is a nagging sense that all is not well this Thanksgiving season.

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  • While much of the world is busy stuffing turkeys, counting blessings, and reuniting over opulent holiday tables, for some there is a nagging sense that all is not well this Thanksgiving season.
    Whether it’s because of job loss, failing health, a fractured relationship, the death of a loved one, or a missing family member stationed overseas, for these people the simple act of giving thanks might seem next to impossible.
    But regardless of the situation, area clergy members assure that Thanksgiving does not have to be a lost cause.
    “There’s always something to be thankful for in the midst of any calamity or difficult time that we go through,” says Greg Mansur, Pastor of Victor Community Church.
    “Even if we don’t have all encompassing health, we can give thanks for limited health,” he says. “Even if we don’t have full time employment, we might be grateful for part time employment.”
    Mansur encourages those who are struggling during the holidays to “find opportunities for gratitude in even the smallest things, like the gift of another day, or the gift of friends, or the gift of a church family where there’s a loving connection.”
    He urges people to look for ways to help others which in turn improves their outlook.
    “Often our holidays are very ‘me-centric,’” says Mansur, “and if we focus on the needs of others we find purpose, fulfillment and peace in that.”
    Another point of view comes from an ex-Rochester fireman who set his sights on becoming a certified counselor and pastor in Victor.
    “There is a thing called seasonal depression,” says Bob Lawrenz , Pastor of Whitestone Christian Fellowship. “It’s a recognized psychiatric condition and many people go into a mild, or maybe even severe depression (at this time of year). It conjures up a lot of memories from childhood, and it’s really easy to focus on those negative things associated with the holidays.”
    His advice is for people to take stock of some basic realities — they are still here, they are still breathing, and their current situation will not last forever.
    “Whatever we’re going through today is temporary,” says Lawrenz, “and it may be difficult, and it may be hard and we may hate it, but I believe that God is at work, working changes in us through circumstances.”
    Thanksgiving 2010 will come and go, and long after turkey leftovers have made their last appearance and relatives have all headed homeward, people will still have a daily choice to make.
    “Happiness is something that’s based on our external circumstances,” says Mansur. “Blessing is based on an internal contentment that surpasses circumstance.”
    According to Lawrenz and Mansur, the choice to give thanks in every situation may lead to a contentment that will outlast any holiday season.
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