Wednesday, November 8, 2017

More Than Turkey: Cultivating Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Gratitude


Happy November everyone! If you're a holiday lover like I am, on November 1st the holiday season officially began for you. I love all things holiday and Christmas. Decorating the tree, wrapping presents, the lights, the food, the traditions, holiday movies and music, spending time with family. It really is the most wonderful time of the year for me. 

All of those things are great, but the truth is the holidays are about so much more. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I want to celebrate by spending this month focused on gratitude. I wanted to do a little more than the typical "30 days of things I'm thankful for" posts on Facebook so I've come up with some ways to cultivate gratitude this season. I hope they are helpful to you too! 

Keep a Gratitude Journal

This Thanksgiving season, start the practice of reflecting on your day and writing down a few things that you are thankful for each night. Get a new journal or even just jot them down in the notes section of your phone. However you do it, take the time to actually write (or type) these things down instead of just thinking about them. Doing that will cause you to really slow down, appreciate all of your blessings and solidify them in your mind. 

There is always something to be grateful for, even on the hardest days. Focusing on those things will change your perspective of your circumstances, whatever they may be. 

Hand Out Thank You Cards

I think it's important not to just express our gratitude to God, but to others as well. Throughout this month, when someone does something nice for you or you catch someone in the act of generosity or kindness, take "thank you" to the next level and leave them a note of appreciation or recognizing them for what they did. There is nothing better than getting a hand written note. You could even leave it anonymously if you wanted. 

When people feel appreciated it makes them want to continue to do a good job. So the result of showing our gratitude to others is more kindness, more generosity and more love. I don't know anything our world needs more of than that!  

Read Through the Psalms

I know for me, one of the best ways to get my heart aligned with God's is to read His word so I think it's the first place we should turn when we want to cultivate gratitude in our minds and in our lives. 

The book of Psalms is full of songs of praise and gratitude to God so it's a great book to read through during the holiday season. I'm currently going through She Reads Truth's "Psalms of Gratitude" study. Join in with me or just spend some time every morning or before bed at night reading and meditating on a few Psalms. 

Give Back

"He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. You will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God." 
2 Corinthians 9:10-13

Paul explains to us in this passage from 2 Corinthians that God's purpose in blessing us is so that we can in turn be a blessing to others and the result of our generosity is that God is glorified. Giving is gratitude in action. 

I challenge you to find a way to put your gratitude to action this holiday season. Donate food to your local food bank. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Invite someone who is alone or in need to your family's Thanksgiving dinner. 

Give back in what ever way you can, big or small, and watch your gratitude multiply into the lives of others. 

I would love to hear how you're planning to make your Thanksgiving about more than turkey this year. Leave me your suggestions in the comments below!


"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

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