Thanksgiving tends to be the time of year when we focus on family and the blessings that we have. The kids do projects in school, employers show their gratitude to you for your hard work, and in the home we spend time expressing what we are thankful for. Being thankful and expressing an attitude of gratitude is a good thing. But why does it often take the arrival of the Thanksgiving holiday to remind us of all our blessings when we can be expressing a thankful heart every day of the year?
The Psalms are flooded with thanksgiving. Most of them refer to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and holiness. We are to give thanks to Him because of who He is. He deserves our continual praise and worship! With all of the brokenness, darkness, sorrow, and horrible events that occur in our world, it is often difficult to see any goodness at all. And it may be especially hard to see God’s hand in any of it. Being thankful helps me to remember that His hand is in all of it. He is always at work. He is good and He intends good for His children.
I read a book a little while back called “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. In this book she talks about naming the things for which we are thankful. It is typical to say a dinner prayer and thank God for “all of the blessings” in our life. But what if we took time to name specifically the things we are thankful for? Ann shares the example of God giving Adam the assignment of naming all of the animals. It is important to put a name to the things we are grateful for. As we begin to name the specific things we are thankful for, it will begin to change our perspective of the world and our lives, especially when things are hard. When I am struggling, angry or frustrated, I can always name something that I am thankful for. Even when all hope seems lost, you can find something to be thankful for!
I am thankful for baby giggles. I am thankful for quiet in the early morning hours before the kids are up. I am thankful for the changing colors of fall. I am thankful for Christmas lights. I am thankful for soft, warm socks. Will you join me? Start to put a name to the things you are thankful for. Continue your list day after day. It may surprise you how much there is to be thankful for! Can you get to 1,000 like Ann did?
May thankfulness continue to flow from our hearts and mouths as we quickly pass by this Thanksgiving season and into the new year. May this attitude of gratitude take the focus off of the everyday mundane and onto the Maker of all things good.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Psalm 28:7)
“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalm 86:12)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16-17)