On November 11, 1620, about 102 settlers aboard the famous Mayflower arrived in the New World, and there was nothing to greet them except the harsh reality of a New England winter. Within five months, over half their number had died of starvation, cold, and disease. How amazing, then, that these “pilgrims” could still find reasons to be thankful in spite of such hardship!
In more modern times, Thanksgiving brings to mind warm memories of turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie, family togetherness, and football games on television. Thanksgiving is a time when we pause to remember how blessed we are as well as to reflect on how we are using those blessings. Sometimes, family members whose hearts are full of joy at such occasions are heard saying, “I wish it could be Thanksgiving all year long!”
You know, we really ought to make every day a day of thanksgiving. The Bible says, “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess 5:18).” I honestly don’t believe that the pilgrims concentrated all their thankfulness into one single day, and neither should we! God’s word teaches we would be much more joyful people if we would simply learn the habit of being grateful people. Let’s strive to make every day of our lives a day of thanksgiving. Here are some practical ideas:
Every night, write down five specific blessings you experienced that day. It’s amazing how many blessings will flood into our minds when we really stop and think about it!
At least once a week, take the time to write a note of gratitude and encouragement to someone who has blessed you with their life. You’ll be overwhelmed by the results!
Every time you pray, listen to what you are really saying to God. Are my prayers concerned mostly with saying, “I want, I want, I want,” or, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You”?
Each day, make it a point to tell just one person in your life something you admire and appreciate about them. Be specific, and DO NOT BE NEGATIVE.
When you read the Bible each day, keep a journal in which you write down each promise or blessing God has given. Then, as you read over the blessings you have recorded in your journal, be sure and prayerfully thank Him for each one.
No matter what your circumstances, never forget that everyone has three basic blessings: Life (Acts 17:28), Opportunity (Galatians 6:10), and the Lord (Titus 2:11). With these three blessings, even the poorest of the poor can be grateful.
These are but a few practical ways to develop the habit of gratitude in your life. So many of us grumble and complain when in reality God wants us to rejoice in Him (Phil 4:4)! If you are skeptical, I dare you to try the activities listed above for just a month! You will find you have drawn nearer to God (James 4:8), and that your joy in Him is fuller. Let’s have thanksgiving every day! — John Baker