Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I am super excited. I love the fun times with family gathered around the table. The food, oh my goodness, the food! Potatoes and turkey and stuffing (oh my!) smothered in gravy. Pumpkin pie smothered in Cool Whip--yes please!! (Though in our family, we make this pumpkin cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie). And I adore the season. The crisp weather, the kaleidoscopic display of leaves contrasting the beautiful blue sky. Sigh.
But what I love most is the spirit of Thanksgiving. Of cherishing all the good things in your life. Of utter and complete contentment and peace with the awareness of how blessed we are. Honestly, I wish every day was Thanksgiving. Not the whole smorgasboard of food each day (though I honestly wouldn't complain, I love Thanksgiving dinner!), but I wish each day we simply took time to acknowledge the things we were thankful for. That we would cultivate a heart of thankfulness daily.
Cultivate: To acquire or develop a quality, sentiment or skill.
Oh, imagine how beautiful our world would be if everyone in it cultivated a heart of thankfulness! Our minds naturally focus on the negative, on our busy schedules and our to-do lists, on our worries, our complaints, the things we wished we had or the circumstances we wish were different. Cultivating is hard work. But good work. The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land and produce a harvest.
When we start dwelling on the negative, we must be intentional to turn our thoughts toward the good things in our life, of which there are many. No matter how hard things are in life right now, there is always something to be thankful for.
I like to take the month of November to think about/reflect on/journal all the things I am thankful for. All the blessings and provisions. My family. The things we've learned and the way we have grown. Ann Voskamp's beautiful book One Thousand Gifts and it's companion study guide helped me really appreciate this practice of recording gifts and blessings in our lives.
"The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to the world." -Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Thanksgiving: the expression of gratitude, especially to God
There are many verses about thanksgiving in the Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New. And each verse about thanksgiving has one of two messages:
Check it out:
- 1 Chronicles 16:4 "Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his love endures forever!"
- Colossians 3:5 "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of his body you were called to peace. And be thankful!"
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ."
- Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ."
Thanksgiving really helps us turn our mind away from our worries and onto the Giver or our many gifts and blessings. It helps us experience contentment and peace in our lives, letting go, if only temporarily, of our continual striving for more. More possessions, more followers on social media, more status, etc.
Are you ready to cultivate a heart of thankfulness? By doing so, we can experience not only the joy in our abundant blessings, but a peace and a contentedness that comes from a thankful heart.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with lots of thanksgiving. And keep the thanks going every day beyond. :)