Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend to Cracker Barrel and discovered that Thanksgiving may have been forgotten!
Seriously, friends, the Thanksgiving items were already in the clearance area. How does that happen a full two weeks BEFORE the holiday has even occurred? Do you ever think of the ways that we as Christians impact our culture? Do you purpose yourself to teach gratitude to your kids? And to practice it yourself?
When I see this sort of thing, I wonder if we’re losing.
Don’t get me wrong, celebrating Christmas is a wonderful thing. But, the Bible does actually talk about giving thanks.
2 Corinthians 4:15
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
There are many, many more verses. And you may have noticed, these verses aren’t commands like we see in the Ten Commandments. Which makes me think… they are tied to grace. And the grace of Christ is the Gospel.
Our entire lives should be one of thanksgiving for what He’s done for us.
And wouldn’t it be a testimony to the entire world if we as American Christians could truly set the time aside to give thanks for the wondrous works the Lord has done for us.
I may sound a little idealistic, I know.
But, maybe that’s what we need. A little idealism in action.
So, what can we do?
We have to start inside the four walls of our homes.
You’ve likely seen it. The video below, where a family wakes up, emerging from wrapping paper and looks around with joy and gratitude. Wrapping paper envelopes a light switch plate, shiny bows adorn the water faucet and shower head, breakfast is in a gift box, and the list goes continues. Not to mention that the dad’s briefcase is wrapped up indicating the even work is a gift. Truly, what an inspirational reminder of gratitude!
In a world of endless attempts to redefine words, let’s take a moment to read gratitude’s definition in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
“GRAT’ITUDE, noun [Latin gratitudo, from gratus, pleasing. See Grace.]
An emotion of the heart, excited by a favor or benefit received; a sentiment of kindness or goodwill towards a benefactor; thankfulness. gratitude is an agreeable emotion, consisting in or accompanied with good will to a benefactor, and a disposition to make a suitable return of benefits or services, or when no return can be made, with a desire to see the benefactor prosperous and happy. gratitude is a virtue of the highest excellence, as it implies a feeling and generous heart, and a proper sense of duty.
The love of God is the sublimest gratitude”
Leading by Example
For sure, it can seem like so many things can crowd out gratitude. But all that aside, how are you leading by example? As a Christian mama, do your children witness your emotion of the heart for waking up to live another day? The very breath of life is a favor given to us by our Heavenly Father- our benefactor.
Not only that, our Heavenly Father gives us a life of deep purpose. And that is to be loved by Him, to love Him, and to love others. With Christ in us, we have the most powerful way to help a hurting world. Needless to say, it’s love.
In part, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary mentions that gratitude has to do with “goodwill to a benefactor, and a disposition to make a suitable return of benefits.” Certainly, this isn’t done as a way of “earning” salvation or God’s love. But rather, it’s a disposition of gratitude for the gift of Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Surely, a part of gratitude is returning God’s love for us. Therefore, we set aside things of the flesh and long to be a more accurate reflections of Jesus Christ. As Mr. Noah Webster’s says, “The love of God is the sublimest gratitude.”
Is this something that our children witness in our personal lives? Are they seeing us our flowing with a love of God? And are they witnessing us live out our roles of ambassador’s for Christ? He has given us Salvation. What better outpouring of His love is there to help others and share the Gospel with them?
A Fresh Start
Who here hasn’t fallen short in the area of gratitude? Um, yeah. Here, too. But you know what? Another area to be grateful for is that God doesn’t pigeonhole us as ungrateful people. As much as we may feel locked into this cycle, God doesn’t keep us there. If we’re stuck in this cycle, it’s because we get in the way.
Rather, our Heavenly Father encourages us to grow and to change. Isn’t that exciting and wonderful? Even though it may be uncomfortable to step out of those old raggedy robes of discontentment, He has royal robes for us to wear. It’s a privilege, honor, and responsibility to be adopted into His family by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And what a glimmering garment gratitude is.
How to Teach Gratitude to Kids
You may or may not agree that gratitude is something that needs to be taught. But in the culture of entitlement in which we live today, I believe it not only needs to be done, it is our responsibility as Christian parents to not only teach it, but to live it.
Here are some thoughts that came to me while having lunch.
Give Thanks Daily
Let’s be sure to model thanksgiving in front of our children by doing the simplest of things–praying over meals.
Remember to tell those friends, children, husbands, and family members we are thankful for them.
Frequently tell others of our thankfulness for what the Lord has done for us. That’s the greatest testimony to others.
Stop complaining and start praising. Give thanks in all things.
Involve the Entire Family
There a many ways to show gratitude because of what God has done and is doing in your life. I created a simple printable to help. Enjoy the Gratitude Because of God printable with your family, and wear the garments of gratitude with thanksgiving and joy as you shine for Christ. Simply enter your email below to download it. If you are already a subscriber to my emails, you can simply open the email dated November 10 and click on the download link.
You can use this printable in a variety of fun ways — all meant to help shift the focus to being thankful.
- Cut the squares apart and place them in a small glass lantern or bowl and draw a new one each day to do individually or a family.
- Make a copy for each of your children and give them a bingo marker. The first one to get a row filled in can choose the dessert for Thanksgiving.
- Focus on the Bible verses and use them as memory verses to be recited at the Thanksgiving table.
- Assign each square to a person you are praying for or thanking the Lord for.
- Some of the activities are more tangible than others. For the ones that are more personal or spiritual, start a journal to record your thoughts. Help your children do the same.
No doubt you’ll have some fun and creative ideas of your own. I want to hear about them!
Leave a comment and let me know. If you have a picture of how you used the printable post a picture on Instagram and tag me @homeschoolinspiration. I can’t wait to see them!