Did You Know Camping is Very Popular at Thanksgiving?
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Did You Know Camping is Very Popular at Thanksgiving?

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Did You Know Camping is Very Popular at Thanksgiving?

Campground spots are in high demand during the Thanksgiving season. Many Campgrounds require reservations up to a year in advance. Family campouts are the perfect way to spend time reconnecting with extended family and connecting to history.  It doesn't matter if you are at the beach or in the mountains, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Snow or sunshine both are great options.

Imagine sitting by a campfire, talking about all the things you are grateful for. Camping has a way of taking away the distractions of life. It can be a time to unplug and actually look into each other's eyes while you really talk. With all the technology nowadays, speaking to people face-to-face has become a rarity. Humans were meant to be connected. Genuine connection happens in person, face to face, hand to hand.

There are some pretty amazing campgrounds that know how to celebrate Thanksgiving. Top of the Hill RV Resort in San Antonio, Texas, caters a feast and camper potluck. You can also enjoy the Holiday River Parade that floats down the River Walk.

Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida, hosts a 5K Turkey Trot. There are usually more than 600 participants. Did I mention it was in Florida, The warm oasis of the south? 

I have to mention all the wonderful campgrounds you can find tucked away in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. The weather is usually pretty mild. The mountains are stunning, with many trails and ways to see them up close. Dollywood is already lit up for Christmas, so you can begin the season with a visit. They have something for everyone. The rides and light shows are beautiful. There is a bubble snow machine that will transport you to winter snow. The Christmas shows are always spectacular.  

There is Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is one of America's top destinations. Thanksgiving is the perfect time of the year to enjoy the lights and shopping. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, also knows how to treat its tourists with amazing food and activities. This area is home to some of the best artisans in the world. The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy the Arts and Crafts Show.

Of course, spending Thanksgiving at Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park would be a bucket list destination. The weather and the majestic park make an unbeatable combination for those who really want to make nature the focus.

The closest RV park to New York City is another bucket list destination for Thanksgiving. The Liberty Harbor RV Park is located by a marina on the Hudson. It is also near a subway stop that will take you to the most popular place in the United States on Thanksgiving. You will be a part of history as you stand on the sidewalk in downtown Ney York city awaiting the annual arrival of Santa Clause in the Macys Thanksgiving Parade. 

If glamping is more your style, then one of the most unique places in Kentucky is Wigwam Villiage in Cave City. This 84-year-old village may look like it has been kept in a time warp, but that is its charm. You will be transported back in time while sleeping in your own Wigwam Teepee. Sleeping in a teepee at Thanksgiving…..perfect. This icon has been a destination that promises memories. 

You may automatically think of sleeping bags and the hard ground, but you'd be surprised. This place has all the amenities, including private bathrooms, a hot shower, comfy beds, and A/C and heat. But you will still feel that you have stepped back in time because all the hickory furniture has remained the same since they opened in 1937. The kids can play on the retro playground while you grill on the fire pit after a day of exploring the many caves nearby, including the largest know cave Mamouth Cave. Cave City has lots of charm and historical road trip stops. I suggest staying a week to see it properly. Caves, kayaking, zip lines, wildlife tours, ghost towns, and many more sights are found in this area.

Also in Kentucky is the Cozy Creek - Minimalist Camper's Cabin at the Red River Gorge.  

Cozy Creek is a true outdoorsman's dream. With over 150 acres to explore, you will find many adventures here. There is a private swimming hole, rock climbing, hiking, and at least ten different waterfalls to discover. This is the purest form of a glamping experience, complete with an outdoor privy. Amenities include A/C, heat, and a five gallon drum with hot and cold water.

Your half bath is an outdoor privy. Cozy Creek is a mere three miles from the iconic Red River Gorge and only five miles away from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo. There are many memories to be made in this beautiful escape.

Camping season doesn't have to end when the weather gets cool. With a little bit of detective work and an internet search, you can find some amazing places to start holiday traditions. Traditions with family or new friends. If you want to have turkey on the beach or wake up to snow, you can definitely find your spot.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is about stopping to see and evaluate God's divine blessings. Even when we are in pain and heartache, we can find reasons to be thankful. It is the time of the year that humanity takes a breath to smell the roses and spend time with loved ones. Sharing a meal or breaking bread is an important spiritual act. We find examples in almost every book of the Bible. Eating was designed for connection. I guess that is why we have so many church dinners.

Thanksgiving is not like Christmas. No elaborate decorations, no expensive gifts or outfits for parties. Just you, your loved ones, dinner, and an invitation to connect with God. No expectations and disappointments about gifts. No trips to see the mythical man. Simple dinner made with God's provisions, an opportunity to love, and a reminder to be thankful.

Being thankful is not just a one day of the year activity. It actually is a very important key. It unlocks the door to the presence of God. I often dare others that are complaining and gloomy to stop and truly enter into a moment of thanksgiving. You cannot be truly thankful without entering God’s company. I will show you.

Psalm 100 A psalm of thanksgiving.

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!

2     Worship the Lord with gladness.

    Come before him, singing with joy.

3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

    He made us, and we are his.

    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

    go into his courts with praise.

    Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good.

    His unfailing love continues forever,

    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

This is a perfect example of the temple we find in Ezekiel. There was a purification process that had to be performed before you could enter the temple. Thanksgiving was the key to the gate.

When Jesus died on the cross, He became the ultimate sacrifice for our purification. The veil of the holiest of holies in the innermost room of the temple was ripped from top to bottom. This is an impossibility but by the hand of God. We became the temple.

Matthew 27: 51-53 At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Thanksgiving is one of the main themes throughout the Bible. Old Testament and the New stress how important it is to thank God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJ21)

In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ephesians 5:18-20 (ASV)

Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.

Psalm 136:26 (AMP) Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness (graciousness, mercy, compassion) endures forever.

Psalm 106:1 (BRG) Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 107:1 (CJB) Give thanks to Adonai; for he is good, for his grace continues forever.

Philippians 4:6-7 (CEB) Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

John 6:11 (CEV) Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.

Colossians 4:2 (DARBY) Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.

I promise you these are just a drop in the bucket. There are hundreds of times thanksgiving is mentioned.  But what about being grateful? Are thanksgiving and gratefulness the same? 

Thankfulness is an emotion. It is felt like happiness and joy. It is invoked and felt then it fades. Emotions do not last. They come and go and can change very quickly. Gratefulness is different. It is deeper. Gratitude is an attitude. It is embedded. The Oxford Language dictionary defines it as a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior.

Gratitude is a way of life. You know, seeing the glass half full and being grateful it isn't empty. An attitude of gratitude is practiced. See, unlike the emotion of thanksgiving, gratitude is constant and continual. The enemy doesn't really care about your thankfulness, but he will try to eliminate gratitude and works hard to do it. 

Gratitude is an action. It proves itself. It is revealed in your life. Those around you can feel your commitment to gratitude. Did you know that etymologically, gratitude has roots in the Latin word gratia, which means grace? Those who are grateful offer grace to others.

1.  Shows their joy

2.  Acknowledges  God’s blessings.

3.  Remember how and who has supported them

4.  Endure hardships with a grateful attitude

5.  Serve others 

6.  Appreciates the small things 

7.  Treasures time with loved ones and friends

8.  Forgives quickly

9.  Empathy

10. Generous

11. Selflessness

12. Kind

13. Patient

14. Faithful

 And number 15. Gracious 

Psalms 147: 3-8 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 4 He determines the number of the star and calls them each by name. 5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. 6 The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. 7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. 8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.

Jonah 2: 6- 9 To the roots of the mountains I sank down the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

Gratitude has an enemy. It has an arch-nemesis. It has a name. It will cause you to hurt others. Hold grudges. Encourage selfishness. It will drive your loved ones and friends from you. It will cause you pain. It is like a drug, you can become addicted very quickly. It is also impossible to rid yourself of it without God’s help. It results in stress and anxiety. It is evident to everyone around you, but it is hard for you to see or admit. It is a trap. It will take your soul.

The nemesis of gratitude is greed.

Luke 12:15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Proverbs 15: 27 Greed brings grief to the whole family

1 Timothy 6:17-19  17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.19 In this way  they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

So I encourage you to not only to be thankful this Thanksgiving but to check your attitude. 

Luke 12 1-3 By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, “Watch yourselves carefully so you don’t get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.

A heart of gratitude is best achieved with practice. The holidays offer prime opportunities to practice. 

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

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