The Thanksgiving holiday is my favorite family holiday. As we gather around the Thanksgiving table, our hearts seem to be centered on the blessings from our Heavenly Father, our family, friends, and, of course, the food. Some enjoy the Thanksgiving Day parade followed by football in the afternoon. The atmosphere is warm and a feeling of peace and contentment reigns. I love it!
More Than One Day
Recently I was challenged by a dear friend to make every day a Thanksgiving day. Now I’m not talking about the food, fellowship, and football, but a practice of continued thanksgiving. From that challenge, I challenged the ladies of the Sunday School class I teach to intentionally give thanks for two things every day. Strange as it may seem, it is often difficult to do. When I was in elementary school (many, many years ago), each school day morning we recited Psalm 100. I can still recite it although now at times, I get it a little mixed up. (Smile) I love the last two verses, 4 and 5.
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.”
Just the last three lines of this Psalm is reason enough to have continued thanksgiving. We learned together to give thanks for blessings in five different areas of our lives. Give thanks for Spiritual blessings; Give thanks for and to people in our lives; Give thanks for physical blessings; Give thanks for circumstances; Give thanks for things.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Salvation is the top spiritual blessing. Added to that is peace, mercy, forgiveness, faith, joy, purpose, guidance, comfort, protection, Heaven, new life, worship, God’s Word, prayer, and hope (my favorite), just to name a few. Every day, thank God for spiritual blessings.
The Apostle Paul is a great example of giving thanks for people. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom…I give thanks” (Romans 16:3,4). Speaking to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “I…cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Eph. 1:16). Think of the people in your life for whom you are thankful. Begin in your home; husband, wife, children, parents, sisters, and brothers. Move on to your extended family, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws. Then there are friends and perhaps your enemies, your church family, teachers, people who have encouraged and influenced you, co-workers, your boss, and the list goes on. First thank God for them and then thank them. This can happen in a number of ways — face to face, in a text, in an email, a phone call, a written note, or through social media. The method of giving thanks is not important but doing it is! Give thanks for people.
Give thanks for the supply of our physical needs; food, clothing, a place to live, health, doctors, nurses, medicine, hospitals, healing, glasses, hearing aids, mobility supplies, emergency responders, sunshine, sleep, and the list goes one. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). “Bless the LORD…and forget not all his benefits (blessings):..Who healeth all thy diseases..Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things” (Psalm 103:2,3,5). Give thanks for physical blessings.
“In every thing (circumstance) give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” ( 1 Thess. 4:18). In every circumstance, good or bad, we should give thanks. When life is good, it is easy to give thanks. But we all have times when life is not good. Can we still give thanks? Our verse says “in every thing (circumstance) give thanks for this is the will of God.” In every circumstance, even the bad ones, we can find something for which to give thanks. This is not easy to do when it seems our world has turned upside down. Perhaps the thanksgiving will not be immediate, but in time as we trust God, we can offer thanks. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). Give thanks in circumstances.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). To me the key word here is “things.” Think of all the things we have that make our lives good and wonderful; things that give comfort and pleasure; things that are needed to help us lead a productive and fulfilled life; things that keep us in touch with the world; things when deprived of them, we panic and complain. Here is a starter list of things: computers, showers, bath soap, hot water, blankets, paved roads, cell phones, washer/dryer, cars, books, recliners, beds, music, toothpaste/brush, popcorn, fresh veggies/fruit, refrigerator, TV, new clothes, toilet tissue, detergent, and the list goes on. “Every good gift… is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…”(James 1:17). Give thanks for things.
There are many benefits from expressing thankfulness. *One study found that it lowered the risk of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and drug abuse. (Maxliving Magazine, Issue #41). From my own experience, giving thanks makes me happy and pleases my Heavenly Father. I have accepted the challenge to give continued thanks. Now I am more alert to the things, people, physical blessings, spiritual blessings, and circumstance for which I should give thanks. It is amazing! Will you accept the challenge? It could change your life!
This is written because I care… Carlene