Learning to Give Thanks

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall.  The weather’s getting cooler, and it makes me realize that Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  Why not start giving thanks early?  Why not give thanks daily?   I try to list my blessings of the day right before I fall asleep.  If you haven’t made this a habit, here’s a way to get started, according to Christian author Priscilla Maurice:

“Begin with thanking Him for some little thing, and then go on, day be day, adding to your subjects of praise;  thus you will find their numbers grow wonderfully;  and in the same proportion, will your subjects of murmuring and complaining diminish, until you see in everything some cause for thanksgiving. If you cannot begin with something positive, begin with something negative.  If your whole lot seems only filled with causes for discontent, at any rate there is some trial which has not been appointed you;  and you may thank God for its being withheld from you.  It is certain that the more you try to praise, the more you will see how your path and your lying down are beset with mercies, and that the God of love is ever watching to do you good.”

For more on giving thanks, see these posts:

Are You Giving Thanks for the Right Things?

Giving Thanks for God’s Mercy

Martin Luther on Thanksgiving

 

Teaching Thanksgiving

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

I was in South Carolina this week with my daughter and my granddaughter.  Both of them said in elementary school, they were taught that the thanksgiving feast was about the pilgrims thanking the Indians for their help in surviving the winter.  I explained that although they may have invited the Indians as a gesture and friendship and thanks, the primary intention of the pilgrims was to thank God, who brought them to the new world and graciously provided for them there.

This led me to think about how we all have a responsibility to teach God’s truth, not only our children, but everyone with whom we come in contact. In the anecdote above, you can see how quickly even historical truth can become perverted by the world.  If we don’t teach God’s word, in a generation or two, it may be lost.  This happened in the Bible (for an example, read about King Josiah in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23) and it happens today.  Martin Luther wrote the catechism so that parents could teach their children about God each day in their own home, not just once a week in church.

So don’t allow Thanksgiving to become “turkey day”.  Use it as reminder to have an attitude of thanks every day, all year long.  Let your children, your grandchildren, your friends and neighbors know that you are thankful to the God for all that you have and are.