Thanksgiving is upon us again – a beautiful time to reflect and consider all our many blessings. Thanksgiving is celebrated on just one day – one day that we also focus on family, food, football, and … pie. 😉 But if you’re like me, you’d like to make thanksgiving a way of the heart – a state of heart – not just a day on the calendar. This Thanksgiving could be the start of carrying the giving of thanks throughout the year. There are many ways to focus on transforming your heart to one of thankfulness. Here are 3 tips for heartfelt thanksgiving – and hopefully they will stay with you long after the “fourth Thursday feast” has ended.
1. Be Thinking
A heart of thanksgiving does not just happen, at least not in my experience. When I’m thinking about my many blessings, I am able to enter into a place of deep thankfulness that seems to supercede any other feelings I may have.
Be intentional – grab pen and paper and make a list as blessings come to mind. When I tried to do this, I found that nearly all of my time could be taken up with considering my blessings, and while that’s a wonderful thing, God has called us all to even more than counting our blessings. So here’s a tip I’ve tried, and it’s worked for me. You might consider giving this a try. When a blessing comes to mind, simply say, “Thank you, God.” This helps you acknowledge the gift and the giver. If the blessing came to you through someone else’s hands, thank God for them.
2. Be Thankful
So this seems sort of like a no-brainer, but let me share a secret:
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
wrapping a present and not giving it.
-William Arthur Ward-
When we are remembering our blessings, we’re recalling a gift given to us. But when we thank the other person, we’re turning that first gift into a second gift – the gift of gratitude. One gift has become two gifts.
But really, one gift becomes three gifts. First, the actual received gift; second, the gift of returning thanks; third, the gift of thanksgiving in our hearts.
Saying “thank you” etches deep the feeling of gratitude.
So, practice giving thanks. (Preaching the good reminder to my heart, too!) Find a way to say or write a thank you to someone when they bless you. The more we work on giving thanks, the more thankful we will feel, deep in our hearts.
3. Be Thorough
Let’s start in this habit of thankfulness even before the “fourth Thursday feast” comes around. Let’s not need a calendar day to remind us to be thankful.
Over on the Facebook page, we’re working through the November Joy Dare and sharing 3 things we’re thankful for, based off a prompt. (The link for the full year of joy dares is in the final paragraph.) Have you joined us on Facebook? If not, would you consider stopping by and at least perusing the list of joy prompts?
When we’re thanking someone, let’s not just say thank you. Let’s say specifically what we’re thankful for. And let’s be sincere.
Let’s plan to continue the giving of thanks long past November, well into December, and by the time the new year comes along we’ll be into a habit of heartfelt thanksgiving.
You want to be thankful, but you’re really stuck on how to get started…
Let’s be honest – this thankfulness doesn’t always come easily.
Some days I can’t seem to find much to be thankful for, and on those days, I need a prompt.
Ann Voskamp has a year of joy dares, broken down into monthly segments.
You can find them here – Joy Dares – and I highly recommend checking them out.
There are just 3 each day, but they challenge me to dig so much deeper than just food, family, friends.
They have helped me to find joy in the hardest, darkest times.
Do you have any other tips on how to have a heartfelt thanksgiving, and a heartfelt giving of thanks? Please feel free to share them in the comments.