3 Ways to Cultivate a Spirit of Gratitude

Sarah Bowler's picture
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I like to think I am a thankful person, but the truth is that in a country full of blessings we are often not thankful people. I just watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving episode and was struck by how some of the comments resemble our attitudes. 

Sally commented to Charlie Brown, “Anyway, why should I give thanks on Thanksgiving? What have I got to be thankful for? All it does is make more work for us at school.”

After inviting herself over, Peppermint Patty complained about how the meal didn’t meet with her expectations, What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where's the turkey, Chuck? Don't you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where's the mashed potatoes? Where's the cranberry sauce? Where's the pumpkin pie?”

The truth is gratitude doesn’t come naturally. It is something we as selfish people need to strive toward reaching. In other words, we must be purposeful in our gratitude. Here our three suggestions I plan to incorporate in the days leading up to Thanksgiving:

  1. Pull out the family album, scrapbook, or digital records of your past year, and thank God with your family for his provision over the past year. Recount the ways God has been good to your family.
  2. Buy cards or card making supplies and write thank you notes as a family. Think of people whom you want to thank. It may be a teacher or a pastor or perhaps a neighbor who helped you yard work. In our case, we’ll send thank you cards to those who recently attended our daughter’s birthday party.
  3. Read Scripture verses as a family that specifically give reasons to praise God. The list of verses  in the Bible on gratitude and praise is practically endless: Psalm 9:11–12; 63:3; 66:20; 68:19; 98:1–3; 103:1–5; 103:1–5; 113; 119:164, 171; 139:17–18; 147; 148:5–6; 149:4; Romans 11:33–36; 16:25–27; 2 Corinthians 1:3–5; Ephesians 1:3; 3:20–21, 1 Peter 3:1 (list adapted from the book Putting God Back in the Holidays).

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive by any means, but the great thing about gratitude is the more you practice it the easier it becomes.

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