It is a day that we usually gather with family (blood or otherwise) eat good food, laugh, play games and reflect on what we have to be grateful for.
It seems over the past few years, however, this holiday has taken a back seat to focus on what we don’t have as we are tempted by mega sales that stretch from Thanksgiving morning until ‘cyber Monday’.
Thanksgiving “has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of ‘Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,’ to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November” (Wikipedia)
Over 200 years of celebrating what we have to be grateful for is a long time, but this notion is nothing new. If we look into the Bible, we see that from the beginning of time, people have been giving thanks throughout the year to the One who gives all good gifts.
All through scripture we see the recurring theme of giving thanks to the Lord for ‘His love endures forever’. It is right and good to give thanks for all the material things we have been blessed with, and the family and friends we have.
Just one of the many verses-
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble[a]
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south”
Above all, we must remember that it is absolutely necessary that we thank the Lord for His LOVE- which never ends and never fails us. This love is expressed to us mostly through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus, which allows us to be restored to relationship with God the Father. His love offers us forgiveness of our sins, acceptance as one of His children, and entrance into His Kingdom.
This idea of expressing gratefulness to the Lord is something that we must work at. We are constantly fed ideas of what we need, what we are missing, and what we can’t live without, through all sorts of media every day. Since it is more natural to see what is missing than what we have, we must make intentional efforts to be grateful.
When we are aware of what we have and remain focused on that, instead of what we think we are missing, it actually brings us more joy and happiness. It also helps keep us connected to the heart of the One who gives all good things.
Intentionality is the key. Looking for things to be grateful for each day helps create this ‘attitude of gratitude’. It may take practice but the steps are not complicated:
- Look for things to be grateful for
- Keep record of this blessings daily
- Voice gratitude to the lord for these gifts
- Watch your focus shift to gratitude, positivity and joy
An author that has put this concept into writing and life-changing practice is Ann Voskamp. Through her book One Thousand Gifts, she teaches this principle and gives practical ways to look for, and live with, gratitude daily.
Check out her resources and mindset on her website: http://annvoskamp.com/
A quick fun focus shifter is the following video. Even though it has a Christmas theme, it helps put things into perspective as we head into the holiday season. Check out this video from Forest Hill church in SC.
~~Look for ways to show gratitude and share the joy of life with others!~~
~Happy Thanksgiving from the iLive4Christ team!~