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Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

NOVEMBER  27,  2019    |    3  MINUTE  READ    |    KATELAND VERNON

As I prepare for Thanksgiving this year, I’m reminded, as I always am, of my eleventh Thanksgiving. That year my dad, a cook in the Army National Guard, was making twenty-seven pies for a huge military dinner. And he asked me to help.

For each pie, we carefully measured out the ingredients, then mixed and rolled out the dough. In order to complete the task, we had to set aside an entire day for preparation. It was messy, drawn-out work, and we were exhausted by the end of the day. If we hadn’t set it aside for that purpose, though, we wouldn’t have had any pies to serve at the dinner.

Photo of person kneeding dough

This Thanksgiving, I don’t want to stop at preparing the food for the feast. I want to ready my mind for this season by practicing gratitude. Where better to turn for guidance on how to do this than God’s Word? Here are a few scriptures that can help you find new reasons and creative ways to give thanks.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1 (NIV)

List ways you’ve witnessed God’s enduring love in your life. Thank Him specifically for the ways He has been steadfast and faithful. Maybe His presence has pulled you through a particularly difficult season in your life. Maybe He’s provided for you with finances or relationships. Remember those events and express your gratitude to Him.

A photo of a journal lying open on a wooden table

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:4

Think of the people you want to thank God for. Who has He placed in your life to be a blessing to you? Who are you grateful for, and why? Be specific. Are you thankful that your best friend sends you texts when she’s thinking of you? Do you love that your son draws family portraits at school? Write that down or thank God for it as you pray.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

We always want to know what God’s will for us is, right? Well, Paul spells it out right here! God wants us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. No matter what you’re going through, no matter the hardship, you can always find one thing to be grateful for (and usually a few more). It’s a difficult practice, but it builds dependence on God and reminds us of the hope we have in Him.

a photo of someone walking towards a wilderness area

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4

God created the whole world. Doesn’t that make every place “His gates” and “His courts”? You might have a specific place you go to feel God’s presence or to be alone with Him. Or maybe you want to see the world in a new way. Try viewing everywhere you go through this lens. Any place can be a place you’re grateful for. You’ll be surprised how much this changes your perspective!

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11

Thanks doesn’t always have to come in the form of words. You can show you’re grateful for all that God has given to you by giving back to others, and not just financially. You can give your time, energy, or even a kind note or text to someone you want to bless. When we’re generous, it shows God that we truly are grateful for His gifts.

a photo of a thank-you note and pen lying on a marble top table

As we prepare for the feast of Thanksgiving, let’s not simply do the work of measuring ingredients and rolling out dough. Let’s practice gratitude in our thoughts, words, and actions, so that when November 28 arrives, we’re ready for it.

Author Bio: Kateland Vernon works at WGM headquarters as a writer and editor. She spends her free time organizing her kitchen, playing video games with her husband, and hanging out with her nephews.

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