Take Time to Give Thanks

What are you doing to ready your heart for Thanksgiving? Regardless of the kind of year you’ve had, Scripture teaches us to see all circumstances—good and bad—as an opportunity to give thanks (I Thessalonians 5:18). That’s easier said than done, however. How are we to spot these good and perfect gifts that have come down to us from the Father of Lights (James 1:16-18)? 

Below are three simple instructions for preparing your heart to give thanks this Thanksgiving:

1. Take time to remember the experiences of this past year. Pay attention to what God’s providence has brought into your life. Review each month slowly and gain a sense for the narrative flow of the year. Take special note of the watershed moments and the smaller formative times where emotional memory is stored—times of great joy or sadness. Commit these moments to writing and add any on-the-spot reflections you may have. 

2. Take time to trace these remembrances to the purposes of God. Since God is sovereignly directing all things according to His purposes (Romans 8:28-30), nothing in your life this year is without meaning. Therefore, take time to consider how the glory of God is being expressed in what you’ve experienced this year. Though you will be tempted to neglect the hard or difficult memories from this past year, please don’t. Prayerfully ask God for the eyes to see and heart to interpret each experience—good or bad—according to the redemptive purposes of God (Philippians 2:13).   

3. Take time to share what you see with others. After you’ve remembered and begun tracing these experiences to God’s purposes, share what you’ve learned with others. Take time over Thanksgiving Dinner with the family or set aside a few moments at a quieter time with a few close friends to share how God has been at work. Whatever the context, be intentional in your sharing and make much of God.  

“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name, Make known His deeds among the peoples, Proclaim that His name is exalted.”

—Isaiah 12:3b

Nate Shurden