When the going gets tough, God’s people stay thankful.
It’s not easy to remain thankful when hard times come, especially if the world around us finds it easier to complain. For a follower of Jesus, being thankful is central to who we are as a People of Hope – people who relentlessly remember that God is always for us, always with us, and always giving gifts no matter the season.
As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Here are 4 ideas for keeping your own heart, and your family’s heart, thankful this season.
1. Choose a favorite Thanksgiving verse, and memorize it.
There are many verses in the Scriptures that can help us keep our eyes on what God is giving, rather than on our troubles. Pick one of the following to memorize, or find your own.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) – “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
- Psalm 9:1 (ESV) – “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
- Colossians 3:15 (ESV) – “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV) – “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
2. Journal a prayer based on that verse, and begin to use it.
Writing our own prayers based on a verse can be an encouraging exercise. Consider writing a short prayer based on the verse you choose, and use that prayer at mealtimes throughout the holidays.
Or, just keep the prayer for yourself as you walk through this season. It can help to write it on a small card and place it in your car in a visible spot.
3. Use a thankfulness Scripture as a personal or family mealtime Grace-Starter.
Once you’ve chosen the Scripture you’ll memorize, begin to use it frequently at times set apart to quiet your heart or to pray.
Many people pray for every meal they have, to thank God for His provision. Consider putting the Scripture on a 3×5 notecard, and having it at your dinner table. If you are with others at mealtime, have someone read the Scripture every time you eat together, and watch it start to work its way into everyone’s life.
4. Take a “Thankfulness Walk.”
A thankfulness walk is a walk in which we choose to only think about things for which we are thankful.
Sometimes when we’re out walking, our minds will gravitate toward the challenges we’re facing, the hopes yet to be fulfilled, or the next big decision we have to make.
There will be plenty of time to think about those things later; a thankfulness walk can help us reorient to what God is doing in our lives. It’s amazing how noticing what God is doing helps us to notice those things more and more – helping to break the negativity that can easily creep in.
Try these ideas, or others they may have inspired in you, as you walk through the Thanksgiving season.
Vineyard Digital has encouraging Thanksgiving resources (including personal devotionals, family devotionals, studies, and sermons) for Individuals & Families, Ministry Volunteers, and Pastors. Check them out here.