Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Developing Thankfulness

Christmas is coming. This is a fun and exciting season. As much as I enjoy the Christmas music, decorations, fun and festivities; there is another holiday I want to talk about first. I don’t want to short change Thanksgiving in this season. It’s easy for Thanksgiving to be little more than a day to be with family or friends and eat too much. Thanksgiving not only as a holiday but as a lifestyle is far more important.

Our Thankful Tree
Our family started a tradition of recording things we are thankful for every day of November. To develop our habit of thankfulness everyone had to think of a new thing every day. Make it more of a challenge and have everyone think of something no one has said. Recording our thoughts has taken many different forms over the years. One year when the children were young I wrote their thoughts on a large piece of paper hung on the china cabinet. Other years they have drawn what they are thankful for. Some years we have added an element, like a leaf or corn cob, every day to build a collage of thankful thoughts. Whatever form it may take the idea is to develop the habit of being thankful, an “attitude of gratitude” if you will.

Our thankfulness leads us to gratitude. We can be thankful for something and keep it to ourselves. Gratitude is taking action to express our thankfulness. Listing things we appreciate is a good first step. What are other ways your family can move from thankfulness to gratitude this Thanksgiving? Send out “Thank you” cards. Do someone a kindness. Speak up when you have a nice thought or appreciate something. Praise the Lord, for real, out loud.

As you develop thankfulness and gratitude you are also preparing your heart for Christmas, to focus on Jesus and the Christmas season with thankfulness and a proper perspective.

How do you develop thankfulness in your family?

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