Don’t Let The Gratitude Stop Abruptly

At the beginning of November, I started a month-long Thanksgiving project by Illustrated Faith called Gratitude Documented. They give you a daily prompt, Scripture, die cuts and numbers to count three things you’re thankful for on that day.

Twenty-nine days ago I wouldn’t have guessed how much this study on gratitude would affect my heart. The situations and circumstances of everyday life take our eyes and our focus away from the blessings God loads us with. With those blinding, distracting influences hammering away at us, gratitude can be the furthest thing from our minds.

But then November appears just like it always does, and we’re suddenly surrounded with gratitude. It’s the season of thanks and giving and blessings, and we’re encouraged to look for all the blessings of life. We just finished a 5-week study in youth group about blessings, looking at Scripture, hymns and stories that center our hearts and minds on naming them ton by ton. We have pumpkins covered with blessings, a fall mood board and even blessing banners hanging from the ceiling. 

Now, four days after Thanksgiving, are you still counting your blessings? Or have you switched over to Christmas, leaving thankfulness on the November calendar? I know it’s my tendency to go on to the next big thing, getting excited over a new project or creation. But that’s definitely not what God has in mind this time.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:2-3

Thanksgiving isn’t meant to be a once-a-year activity that gives us something to do in Sunday School. It’s not something we tuck away at the end of November and replace it with twinkling lights and wrapped gifts. The Psalmist says that every time we come before God in prayer, we are to come into His presence with thanksgiving. Our great God and great King is worthy of so much more than what we can give Him, but all He desires is our praise and thanks. 

The reasons to be thankful and the times we go into the very presence of God doesn’t end when we flip the calendar over this week. There is just as much to be thankful for on December 1 as there was on November 30. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this in-depth gratitude study, it’s that I need to continue this practice of finding three things (at least) every day that I’m grateful for. It completely changes my outlook on things, and helps me remember those moments of love coming straight from God Himself.

As we go into the Christmas season, let’s bring Thanksgiving along with us. There is no better time than this to keep track of all those beautiful ways God is blessing us. Imagine finishing the month of December with written proof of God’s love, grace and mercy in the everyday moments of our lives. Don’t let the gratitude stop abruptly this week - keep it going and going and going…

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