Each Thanksgiving we gather in a circle and take turns saying what we are thankful for. But the value of this activity extends beyond one meal a year. We have often talked about the importance of gratitude and its impact in encouraging one another and our family members. Developing the simple habit of thanking others creates a more joyful home and workplace.
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But thanksgiving also provides a boost for us personally. When we are currently hit with lots of bad news and simple, everyday tasks are now filled with COVID-related irritations, our spirits can tend to droop. At such times, our inner person needs a pep talk. King David wrote: Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. (Psalm 103:1) David is giving a pep talk to his soul to focus on God and give Him praise as an antidote for such droopiness.
I heard a podcast the other day where this was the focus — the positive effects of the discipline of thanksgiving for our everyday life. One recommendation was to write down 10 things for which we have to be thankful each night before going to bed. This simple habit would shift our thoughts away from the worries and stress that often hinders our sleep.
Another habit to develop is to have a Thanksgiving Jar. While sitting together for a meal, pass out slips of paper and pencils to the family and have them jot down one or two things for which they are thankful. They can each share their blessing and then put it in the jar. Then, when times are tough, the family can pull the slips out and remember the many things that are good in one’s life.
We used to call that counting your blessings. There was even a song about counting blessings instead of sheep. In Philippians 4:8, we are urged to set our minds on such things: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.
I always enjoy listening to the smallest of our grandchildren coming up with the tried and true — I am thankful for my family. Even when this is repeated by others, it bears repeating. And it blesses my heart. Let’s extend this blessing throughout more of the year. Thanksgiving is great! Let’s keep it up, Christopher