“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
Celebrating Thanksgiving creates a time and space where families and friends can join together and share the wonderful things God has done for them.
Not to say that this practice is a bad thing, but what if we were grateful for God’s blessings on more than just one day of the year?
Think about how often people in the United States complain about what they do not have. They don’t have the perfect car, family, Smartphone, body, budget, house, etc.
Since they’re focused on what they don’t have, these people cannot focus on what they do have: shelter, friends, enough money to get by, family, all five senses, and more.
Furthermore, gratitude is a huge theme in the Bible. Think about Miriam, who praised God during the Exodus from Egypt.
Consider how many times the psalmists––especially King David––praised God for the wonderful things he has done. Consider how many times Jesus thanked his Father in the New Testament.
Notice how many times Paul thanked the churches he wrote to for various reasons, including their spiritual growth. Gratitude is not something a person can neglect.
Those stuck in this negative thought pattern may find it difficult to engage in gratitude. What if we took small steps forward and started thanking God for something each day?
Yes, this might become a hard task if you had a hard day at work, the kids aren’t listening, and your spouse just doesn’t seem to understand how you feel.
However, finding that one glimmer in the dust might make the day even just a little better and remind you about the ways God is Lord of your life.
In addition, gratitude will make everyone in the family healthier because it helps with physical, emotional, psychological, somatic, and relational health, according to Forbes. All of these things will come in handy during the next month––when the holiday blues kick in––and lead to a life of longevity.
This practice of thankfulness can manifest in many ways.
First, use sticky notes. Write something you’re thankful for each morning and leave these notes in different places around the house.
Second, practice art. Create an image of something important to you, such as the place you grew up or even something as simple as the family dog.
Third, pick a different Bible verse to meditate on each day, and journal about how it evokes gratitude.
Fourth, keep yourself accountable and verbally tell someone what you’re thankful for that day––you can even tell the kids you’re thankful for them completing their homework.
Lastly, keep a journal with a list of things you’re grateful for and add something new each day.
This Thanksgiving, invite everyone onboard with the endeavor. Transform it into a family project with a whiteboard full of grateful thoughts. Read devotionals that express gratitude before family meals or during devotional times.
On that note, have a family prayer time focused on thanking God for his faithfulness. Find opportunities to sneak thanksgiving in and capitalize on them.
These activities can last as short as a month or as long as a year, but I encourage you to make them a habit.
Finding the beauty in each day proves difficult if you haven’t stopped to appreciate both the small and major blessings in your life.
However, having that arsenal of thankful thoughts provides a powerful weapon against pessimism and creates a peace that lingers throughout the soul.