Giving Thanks

Posted on November 22, 2018 by Justin Serrano

Thanksgiving is a day, that for most people, is about the food. It is all about the turkey, stuffing, pies and seeing how much one can stuff into themselves. It is also a day for getting together with family. Then there is the part about being thankful as the word thanks is in Thanksgiving. The word giving is also in Thanksgiving so it is a holiday about being thankful for what God has provided and about giving to others. I like to think that the first Thanksgiving was about the Indians and the Pilgrims being thankful for a bountiful harvest and sharing it with others. It paints a beautiful picture in my mind of a table with an abundance of food and great conversations. I wonder if it was so much more.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. —II Corinthians 9:11-12

We are told to thank God often and it should be a daily thing. We are also told to give to others and that too should be more than once a year. We should thank God daily for everything whether big or small. I love spending about 30 minutes in bed after my alarm clock goes off, thanking God for the blessings in my life. It drives my husband crazy that I set my alarm clock 30-60 minutes before I actually get out of bed. This is a time that I need every day before I get out of bed and get way too busy. This is God and me time, it is quiet and relaxing. It is not only a time to thank God for simple things like greeting me with a beautiful sunshine or the sounds of birds chirping, but it is also a time for me to ask God for help for the day ahead.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. —I Chronicles 16:34

What are the simple things that you are thankful for?

Some of the simple things that I am thankful for are having a comfortable pillow and bed. I am thankful for being able to choose the food that I eat daily to being able to stay home with my kids. I am thankful for my noisy boys that keep life exciting. Sure, there are the days that nothing seems to go right or days of stress, but I find that those are the days that we need to find something to be thankful for. I find that after I remember to reach out to God during the difficult times that I am thankful that I can talk to God about anything.

Giving leads to gratitude

When you thank God for what he provides it is easier to give to others. Giving does not have to be money or material things, it can also be things like your time or offering kind words or a smile to a stranger. It is amazing how great I feel after someone compliments me or when someone tells me I am doing a good job raising my kids. Sharing about the love of Jesus is also giving. I like to bless others with things that God has blessed me. When I am giving to others, I am giving to God.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19

How can you bless others?

Ways that you can bless others are plentiful. You can donate food to a local food bank or you can give money so that others can have the blessing of food. I loved that Harvest challenged me this year to give so that they could bless many families in our community with a Thanksgiving food basket. Through God’s blessing this year, I was able to donate money so a family could enjoy Thanksgiving. Another way to bless people is to purchase a Christmas gift for a child in need or drop some money into those red kettles that you see outside stores at Christmas. Blessing others doesn’t have to cost much. You can invite someone to your Christmas meal who doesn’t have family in town. Send someone a card to let them know you are thinking about them. Bake some cookies for a neighbor or a teacher. I remember when my daughter’s Girl Scout troop would visit the nursing home and how much joy the residents had from that simple visit. When God Blesses you share it with others. I like to think of blessing others as a way to say thank you to God.

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. —Psalm 95:2-3

Thanksgiving is a unifying experience for families and a time to focus on gratitude and blessings.

Below are some activities that families can enjoy together to encourage a feeling of gratitude during this Thanksgiving season:

Volunteer: Engaging your children in volunteer work that contributes to less fortunate communities is one of the best ways to teach them to appreciate what they have.

Donate: Giving is a great way to encourage gratitude. Whether it be donating food, clothing, or toys, watch how good it makes your children feel to be able to help those who have less.

Count Your Blessings: Have each family member make a list of blessings that each of you is thankful for, leading up to Thanksgiving. When dinnertime rolls around on that day, read your lists aloud, as you give thanks for your meal and what you are most thankful for.

Work on a Creative Project: A family scrapbook is a great project to get children focused on something that the family feels grateful for, as well as to learn to look at their lives with gratitude.

Spend Time in Nature: Over the Thanksgiving holiday, spend a day out in nature, as it is a great way to express gratitude for family time, as well as to nourish the body and mind.

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