I usually like Thanksgiving. To me, I’ve always seen Thanksgiving as the holiday that’s kind of like Christmas minus all of the spending money for gifts. Some seasons I have to work on making myself thankful. The Lord calls us to give thanks always, and it’s not always easy.
The science of gratitude will tell you how being thankful combats stress, builds resilience, helps you connect with others, improves your sleep and even rewires your brain. Awesome. But science doesn’t seem to understand the holidays are busy, and often lonely, for most. And did I mention the traffic?
That said, Scripture is clear. We’re to be thankful. So, let’s try to practice gratefulness in this post.
Making myself thankful
I’m thankful for God and His Word. I know. Sounds Sunday School-ish right? Don’t answer that.
Here’s the deal. I am thankful for His Word. The more people I connect with, the more I realize they, like myself, need His Word in their hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” I believe, without His Word, we are doomed to failure. We are doomed to a life lived for our own temporary gain and for our own motivations. This is what death looks like, kids, to live for this world only.
On a more encouraging note. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. His Word comforts. Are you lonely? His Word speaks. Have you lost motivation? His Word speaks. You can email me if you need some Scripture for help.
Now, if you’re like me and thinking more about traffic and lines than being thankful, you and I both have some work to do.
You can work through an unthankful or ungrateful heart, these verses may help. Yes, I’ve been busy during this season. I’m the guy who’s typically started listening to Christmas music by now. But this year’s different. This year I need the primer that is His Word. I’m going to rehearse these verses and make myself grateful.
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good; His love endures forever.
It is good to praise Yahweh, to sing praise to Your name, Most High, to declare Your faithful love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night.
For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.
Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:10-15
Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
I will give thangs to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. —
That’s all. Let’s practice being thankful. The godly husband and father will practice thankfulness—even if he doesn’t feel like it. It’s been said, “feelings are a good gauge but a terrible guide.” In most cases, rejoicing is the answer to finding joy. Until Black Friday, then we can stand in a line and be angry again. Happy Thanksgiving.
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan and Tonia are married, have two daughters, and one son. He lives in Reston, Virginia, serves at McLean Bible Church as a regional leader and is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter @RyanSanders.