Celebrating Gratitude

Good morning, everyone. How’s everyone’s holiday spirit?

Surprisingly, mine has been all right thus far. It’s a huge win for me to enter Thanksgiving—Christmas without panic attacks. Pretty happy about that! Due to unforeseen circumstances (a rotted subfloor in our bathroom) we’ve been spending a lot of time in home improvement stores over the past three weeks. Can I just say that I think Thanksgiving is seriously underrated? The stores and radio stations were already full-steam ahead with Christmas even three weeks ago.

Even if you take out the historical significance, science has proven the benefits of gratitude. I try to begin and end my day with gratitude. It retrains your brain to look for the positives in life. And, in America, every year we get a whole holiday dedicated to gratitude!

How does your family celebrate? Growing up, Thanksgiving was traditionally a holiday for friends and Christmas was our family-holiday. I have many fond memories of my family and our friends eating our way through a turkey on Thanksgiving. After my husband and I got married, we didn’t carry turkey or friends into Thanksgiving. Some years we spend it with extended family. Some years we have macaroni and cheese with our kids and watch movies.

One tradition we got from my family of origin is a Thanksgiving Book. It’s a tradition I am so thankful that my parents started. Basically, on Thanksgiving, you sit down as a family and write down all the things you’re thankful for about the past year, all the ways you’ve seen God work. And then you read through the previous years’ entries (or at least some of them, depending on how many you’ve got). It’s an awesome way to celebrate God’s faithfulness and to bolster your faith for the future. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought to God, “well, you’ve gotten us out of x, y, z in the past so I know You’ll get us out of this one.”

Another thing I love about Thanksgiving is the timing. We kind of start our holiday season here in the U.S. with Thanksgiving and end it with New Year’s. It’s easy to get frazzled with all the activities and gift-shopping and decorating and family time and–well, you get the picture. One of the health benefits of gratitude is an increased ability to handle stress both mentally and physically. I need all the help I can get 😉

I know Thanksgiving is often a very hectic day (especially for the folks who are cooking giant meals!) but let’s all take a few minutes to remember just what we have to be thankful for. As Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18 NIV). No matter what kind of situation we find ourselves in this Thanksgiving, there’s something there we can be thankful for–we just have to keep our eyes open for the good things.



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