Thanksgiving is a supposed to be a time to give thanks.
For some, Thanksgiving feels overwhelming.
My mother passed away in August. Many friends I know have lost a parent this year. Two couples I know recently divorced. One friend and his son will eat Thanksgiving dinner at a church because the wife/mom left them. A couple in our community lost their only son in a car accident. Some of you reading this have a rocky marriage and wonder if this might be your last Thanksgiving together. Some of you are estranged from family members. Maybe you are overwhelmed because of the the lengthy to-do lists. You keep busy planning meals, shopping for food and preparing your home to host families and friends. The bottom line is that you feel overwhelmed.
It is possible to make your Thanksgiving more joyful and meaningful. Scripture and brain science tells us gratitude and appreciation are essentials we should not overlook. The benefits of gratitude can stay with us for months. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5 to, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (19-20, NIV) Do not worry if you aren’t a singer or worship leader, you can express your thanks by appreciating the people and God’s gifts in your life. Start some joy this Thanksgiving with a short exercise around your Thanksgiving table.
- Take turns expressing appreciation for the people around you. Share one quality you appreciate then express a heartfelt blessing for them.
“Bob, I appreciate how you always care for those around you. May God bless you with an increase in peace.”
- Share something from your year that brought you joy.
For example, “I enjoyed the second day of our summer vacation when we were all together sitting on the beach watching the sunset.”
- Mention one quality about God you appreciate, share why you appreciate this quality.
For example, “ I am grateful that God is faithful. This year God helped us have the funds for a new roof.”
As you practice the exercise notice how you feel. At the end, invite friends and family to share what they noticed from the exercise.
Take a moment to give thanks!
To continue this start a Gratitude Journal and write one thing every day you are grateful for.