One week each year, we put an extra focus on gratitude and giving thanks. As Thanksgiving approaches next week, I find myself being more mindful of people, experiences and things that I am thankful for. In recent years, it is has become more difficult to enjoy Thanksgiving as the stores and TV commercials have quickly shifted from Halloween to Christmas.
It's not surprising then, that one of the toughest things to teach children is to live a life with an attitude of thanksgiving. Giving thanks and being grateful are a posture easily lost in our fast-paced life-style where immediate gratification is the expectation. I believe showing gratitude is a skill that requires practice.
How can we practice? How can we "give thanks in all circumstances"?
How can we be a "thanksgiving" rather than just saying thank you?
I would invite you to look for ways to practice thanksgiving this week and each day of the year. These words from Psalm 95, can serve as a daily prayer:
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
So let's practice... Here's an idea for something to do with your family:
Make a Gratitude box. Grab a shoe box, cut a hole in the top, and wrap it in your favorite wrapping paper. Sit down as a family in the living room with pieces of paper and have everyone write down something or someone for which they are thankful and put it in the box. Then set the box on your dining room table or somewhere near by. Over the next few weeks, take time over dinner to write down something for which you're thankful and put it in the box. This can be an ongoing practice with your family, and every week or every couple of weeks, pull out some of things from the box and read them aloud together.
Prayer for Today
A Thanksgiving Prayer: (from Scott Wesemann)
Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray
We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing
We're slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold
But Lord, I'd like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I'm thankful for
For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head
I'm thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they'll ever possibly know
Thankful Lord, that You've blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life's greatest treasure
That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I'm ever so grateful for Your unending grace
So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You've provided
And bless each and every person invited