When we were little and someone gave us something or complimented us, our parents prompted us with, “Now what do you say?” We would dutifully say thank you (perhaps rather meekly and/or begrudgingly) and run away.
As adults, we often continue to need prompting from our heavenly Father to say thank you. As the Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Scripture itself is encouraging us to develop a ritual of thanks in our lives. We are called to make thanksgiving a regular part of our every activity.
The Thanksgiving Day holiday that is fast approaching is a well-established ritual of thanks in our culture. So many parts of the celebration are wrapped up in tradition and memories and doing things in a certain way and ‘the way we always do it” in order to thank God well and honor him properly for all the blessings that he has granted to us throughout the year.
There are Thanksgiving rituals of gathering together with family and friends. There are rituals of eating particular foods that we enjoy and associate with Thanksgiving. There is a ritual of going around the table to have people say what they are thankful for.
These are all well and good, but these rituals should not be reserved just for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Consider ways that you can incorporate some of these Thanksgiving rituals of thanks into your daily lives the other 364 days of the year.
Here are some suggestions:
- Say a prayer of thanks before every meal.
- Each evening, ask people around the table at supper to say one thing they are thankful for that day.
- Gather with friends and family for a meal every week or every month to celebrate God’s goodness and to share stories.
- Have a turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and stuffing after a special event that you are very thankful to God for, and enjoy the good food associated with Thanksgiving as a celebration of your gratitude to him.
- Make it a practice to end each email or each conversation with a thank you to the person you are communicating with for their time and attention, kindness and help.
Developing a ritual of thanks is a good discipline for us to remember that everything we have and are is a gift from God, and not something ever to take for granted.
When thanksgiving is a regular part of your daily living, you automatically become a kinder, gentler, calmer, more observant and tolerant person, I find.
Let this verse from Scripture be your guide in this endeavor to live the thankful life:
Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. —Ephesians 5:18-21