We have so much for which to be grateful today. I fear, though, that we too often limit our expressions of thanksgiving to only this day. Because the Apostle Paul tells us to “give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), we need to practice thanksgiving. Here are some practical ways to build thanksgiving into your life.
- Handwrite thank you notes.
Frankly, it was my wife who convinced me of the importance of this task. An email is acceptable, but a personally handwritten note somehow raises the significance of the “thank you.”
- Make a monthly thank you call.
Each month, find somebody for whom a phone call of thanksgiving will mean much. You might even find that a phone call takes less time than writing an email.
- Surprise your spouse with another “Thanksgiving Day.”
Choose another day during the year (and NOT your anniversary or your spouse’s birthday), and show your gratitude for your spouse’s love and support.
- Write a thank you letter to your children.
Regardless of their age, give your children something to keep for the rest of their lives. Tell them how grateful you are for them.
- Spend one day a week in thanksgiving prayer.
Choose one day, and pray only thanksgiving prayers throughout the day. I promise you won’t exhaust your reasons to be grateful.
- Send a thank you card to people who have positively influenced your life.
Think about sending one card per month. Schedule it. Write it. Send it. Bless somebody else with a simple card.
- Sponsor a thank you break for your co-workers.
It’s easy to do, and it’s not costly. Get the boss’ approval (of course, you might be the boss), order a few snacks, and surprise your co-workers with a 20-minute unexpected break.
- Get involved in a ministry to needy people.
Christians often help the needy during the holidays, but the needs continue throughout the year. Find a ministry in which your family can participate regularly.
- Start a thank you journal.
I am not typically a journaler, but this type of journaling does not take much time. Keep a small journal handy, and simply write down the things for which you are thankful throughout the day.
- Give a gift to others who serve you regularly, like your mailperson, hairdresser, banker or favorite restaurant servers.
They’ll be grateful for getting something at Christmas, but that’s when we’re supposed to give to others. Surprise people with simple “thank you” gifts throughout the year.
- Regularly, quickly and completely turn from your sin.
We say “thank You” to God for the death of His Son and the indwelling of His Spirit when we live like He wants us to live.
- Take the Lord’s Supper regularly.
Your congregation may already do so. If so, be sure to attend. Use the time as genuine reflection on the death of Christ until He comes again. Allow this church ordinance to grip you with thanksgiving.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. This post first appeared at www.chucklawless.com.