Thanksgiving’s have always been interesting at my house. With 10 kids, and sometimes the many cousins, it’s by no means a picturesque, quiet, intimate time of giving thanks. It is always loud, often obnoxious, and really really fun. I don’t remember fully each Thanksgiving, they all sort of run together in my brain. My mom tries new things each year for table talk. We’ve always done a “What are you thankful for?” circle around the table, and that’s about as serious as it gets. My mom tried a new system last year, where everyone’s cloth napkin had written on it a question or prompt, and it was interesting! I think my family just has trouble being serious when we are all together. It’s the moments and the laughs that I get to sit and enjoy on Thanksgiving day that stay with me.
One year, I participated in a Facebook trend of giving thanks for one thing every day in the month of November. It was really neat, and I still see some people do it! It was actually surprising how difficult finding 30 things to be thankful for can be. Sad, huh? But we sort of run out of ideas after the basics:
- My family
- My best friends
- My home
- My dog
- My job
That’s it, right? And I’m sure some people might list out the next ten things that come to mind, other basic needs and wants that have been met. But I think the reason we have trouble continuing after that is because we don’t practice giving thanks enough! Once a year for 30 days isn’t enough!
I’d like to say that I give thanks daily to God for what I’ve been given, but it probably ends up being 75% of days in a year. But when I think about what I’m giving thanks for, it’s sort of the same stuff every time. A new friend might come into my life, or a new provision from the Lord, but overall I sound like a broken record. And there is so much goodness that comes from giving thanks for those things! But I want to challenge us to be intentional about giving thanks. I think about 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says,
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
I love what my pastor says sometimes: “Do you know what all means in the Greek?…ALL”. Looking at the original language here, it literally says to rejoice at all times or ever. Be rejoicing at all times, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all things, everything, some of all types. That’s God’s will for us in Christ!
So, my challenge is this: from this Thanksgiving 2017 or whenever you’re reading this, commit to giving thanks daily. One thing that we might not instantly think to thank God for, every day, for the next year. Let’s create a lifestyle of Thanksgiving, praising God for all things in our lives, every day. Start a journal! Maybe write one thing and then journal a bit about that thing and why you’re thankful. Or make a list and just thank God for that one thing every day. However you do it, just be intentional.
Here are three prompts that may help you come up with multiple things if you’re stuck!
- Think of a person you’re grateful is in your life, but you haven’ thought to thank God for them.
- Think of a place that you’re thankful for; somewhere you live, somewhere you vacation, somewhere you’ve been.
- Think of a circumstance in your life that was hard and reflect on how that circumstance changed your life or someone else’s for the better. Thank God that He works all things together for our good! (Romans 8:28).
I heard a quote recently that has stuck with me, “It is not happy people that are thankful, it is thankful people that are happy”.
I think that’s true! When we are thankful for what we do have, we can be more present and happy where we are instead of wishing we were somewhere else.
Is giving thanks hard for you to remember to do? What are some ways that you give thanks regularly or could start? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!