There are 840 hours from the writing of this blog post till Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
(35 days – about 5 weeks)
Because our family heritage is Canadian, and we grew up celebrating Thanksgiving in October, the USA Thanksgiving weekend sneaks up on Robert and me, and before we know it – it’s over!
Then comes Christmas.
To combat the feeling of ‘missing’ Thanksgiving – and to focus on taking time to give thanks – I decided to do a study with the book, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. A few of us from church are going through this book together.
One of the first quotes she has in the book is from a British pastor, John Henry Jowett. It threw me for a loop already on the 23rd page.
“Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
Just think on this for a moment …
If we’re not operating from a place of thanksgiving, then all the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – are difficult to experience and put into action.
Pause for a moment – really think about it…
- how effective is your ability to love your spouse if you can’t be thankful for anything about him/her?
- how much joy can you be filled with, if there’s nothing around you that you appreciate?
- how can you hold onto peace without being thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice?
You get the idea.
In the book, Nancy Leigh Moss highlights & expands on 8 reasons to choose gratitude:
- Gratitude is a matter of obedience to God.
- Gratitude draws us close to God.
- Gratitude is a sure path to peace.
- Gratitude is a gauge of the heart.
- Gratitude is the will of God.
- Gratitude is an evidence of being filled with the spirit.
- Gratitude reflects Jesus’ heart.
- Gratitude gets us ready for heaven.
Those of us studying this book are finding it a challenge. (And it’s a challenge we didn’t expect.)
We’re writing down 5 things we are thankful for every day, and working through the 30 day devotional that’s included at the back of the book. By delving into what truly being thankful means – including being thankful in difficult times such as the loss of a loved one – our hearts are being affected.
Some of the action items in the devotional are:
- recording spiritual blessings – not just “things”
- list those people who have blessed your life in some way – the person who introduced you to Jesus, teachers, friends, leaders – and write them a note to tell them how their actions blessed you
- ask God if there are any ways you’ve become blinded to His grace
- be aware of how you are modeling thankfulness – when was the last time you told your children/grandchildren that you’re thankful God has put them in your lives?
- be aware of your whining… how has this affected your mindset and relationships?
The author, Nancy Leigh Moss, challenges the readers to make a change.
Not an attitudinal change – but rather a “gratitudinal” change!
How would it change your Thanksgiving weekend if, for the next 30 days, you focused and took action on creating an atmosphere of gratitude in your marriage? Would your spouse fall over in shock if your “whines” were replaced with giving thanks?
Would an attitude of thanksgiving – of appreciation – of noticing all the blessings God has placed in your life – add to your Thanksgiving Day?
Give it some thought.
Make Thanksgiving more than a day…
If you’re game to accept the challenge, go ahead and order the book. If finances are a concern, I urge you to go to Revive Our Hearts website, and download the free 30-day Growing in Gratitude Challenge PDF.
What do you think?
Are you up for the CHALLENGE?