I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, but perhaps the greatest is that it helps us schedule a day to do what we should be doing every day of the year—give thanks.
Thanksgiving, of course, is more than a holiday—it should be a verb. So how, practically speaking, can we make this a day when we actually give thanks? Here are five suggestions:
- Trust the sovereignty of God. I don’t know that I ever thought of trusting God as being a way to express thankfulness to Him until the year our son, Larry, was diagnosed with cancer the week before Thanksgiving. That year, I remember studying Psalm 100 and recognizing that one of the greatest ways we give thanks to God during times of trial is trusting that He knows more than us and has our best purposes at heart.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving…—Psalm 100:3–4
- Praise God for who He is. Sometimes we feel grateful without actually giving thanks. Hebrews tells us that our praise to God is a sacrifice He loves. Pause this Thanksgiving to meditate on who God is and to give Him thanks for His unchanging attributes.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.—Hebrews 13:15
- Write a thank you note to someone who wouldn’t expect it. This will encourage you and the person you write to! Take a few moments to think of someone who has been an encouragement in your life, and simply jot a note telling them specifically how they have blessed you. (If you’re a parent, help your children to do this as well.)
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,—Philippians 1:3
- Tell your family why you are thankful for them. Don’t let this Thanksgiving pass with a simple “I’m thankful for my family.” Share with your spouse, your children, your parents specific reasons you are thankful for each of them. When Paul expressed to people his thankfulness for them, he almost always followed with specific reasons.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.—Romans 1:8
- Reflect on the goodness of God. This takes us back to where we started. God has lavished His goodness on us. We honor Him when we pause to thank Him for it.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.—Psalm 68:19
As Christians, we know the command, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). You probably even have this verse memorized. But sometimes we don’t practice it like we know we should.
The holiday of Thanksgiving is an awesome time of year to purposefully practice giving thanks.