How do we give thanks in a culture that continues to tell us we’re not enough, we don’t have enough, and that our self-worth is only measured by all that is external?
Thankfulness can often be stolen from us, not only as we navigate through the retail stores during the month of November, but during any month.
You only have to glance at the magazines lining every check-out in every supermarket.
The messages that we’re hit in the eyes with are how to fix ourselves, our families, our relationships, our houses, our diets, our hair, our skin, our figures, our finances and how to have the best, be the best, want the best and never rest until we get the best.
Whoa! Put on the brakes.
If we buy into all those plastered/plastic messages sprawled across the media, the advertisements, the displays or we get pulled into the enticements at the magazine counters how will we ever be thankful right here; right now?
As I count down the days to Thanksgiving, I’ve been purposely keeping my focus off of the commercialism that begins this season and all the other messages I’m hit with at every checkout counter.
Before I start focusing on Christmas (too early) I’ve tried to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and finding one thing to give thanks for daily.
Often that one thing leads to many more things but concentrating on one is a great place for me to start.
One of the benefits of giving thanks daily is that the by-product of thankfulness is JOY.
You can’t give thanks and be discontented, downcast or distracted at the same time and you really can’t give thanks and be depressed or angry either.
The out working of a thankful heart is always JOY and it’s deeply rooted in being aware of the blessings from God and it’s not dependent on circumstances.
Even in the middle of undesirable circumstances we can still have JOY.
Maybe that’s why 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.
As an overwhelming sense of gratitude works its way in and through our lives, we’re often moved to give thanks in new and unique ways to God.
A few of the ways we can offer thanks is through worship, by our lifestyle, by telling others about what God has done and is doing in our lives and by giving generously.
I don’t think there’s a better way of giving thanks to God for all He has given to us than by giving to others…in time, talent, resources, or other ways we may feel led to reach out to someone in need.
After all, we’re told in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do to the least of these we’re doing it to Jesus.
When I concentrate on the simple truth that everything that I have belongs to God, and that I’m just a steward of all of it–even my very life–I’m more ready to loosen my grip and give to others.
So as I cultivate an attitude of gratitude in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve also included a simple prayer–Lord, who is it that you want me to help this season?
I pray my simple gesture (to whomever God leads me to this year) will have a ripple effect and that they would see it coming from the hand of God and offer thanks to Him.
Then the gift of thanksgiving won’t stop with me but will keep on going…
Written by: Nancy Janiga ©2014
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