Here in the United States it’s the week of our Thanksgiving celebration, a celebration that will feel very different from other years. But it does remind us to be grateful every day, not just on that one Thursday in the fall. In fact, in scripture, God commands his people to give thanks in all circumstances. Gratitude should be a way of life for Christians.
- Bring it back to the basics. The challenge of the Christian life is to know who we are and to whom we belong.As daughters and sons of God, through grace, we possess all we need to nurture gratitude in our lives. Start every day with an Or Father, even before you get out of bed, to remind yourself.
- Make a list. In our world, many suffer from an inability to be grateful: homelessness, malnutrition, lack of basic healthcare, racism, fear of deportation, loss of affection, broken relationships… The list is long. But for the grace of God, any one of us could find ourselves in a seemingly hopeless situation. That’s worth saying thank-you for.
- Materialism fuels our ingratitude. Our culture and greed often lead us into a vicious circle of materialism: The more we get, the more we want. Materialism leads to the “give me” mindset in which “stuff” fills the void of our hearts. It is important to focus on the non-material world where we share our thanks with words of affirmation, kind deeds, and prayers of thanksgiving.
Even in the waning days of what has been a very hard year, we can find reason to celebrate. We can find moments of joy. We can find things to be thankful for. And we can keep doing it—through the approaching holy season of Advent, the miracle of Christmas, and a new year that, we hope and pray, will be better than the last. In so many, many ways, God is joy. And spreading that joy has to be our fundamental response to him.