This month we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. We remember the brave early settlers of this country and their cooperation with the Native Americans in establishing communities that served as the foundation of our great country. For us today, it is a perfect time to reflect on being grateful for all the blessings our Loving Father has bestowed not just on our country, but on our families as well.
God desires that we be thankful for the good and the tough times in our lives. Even on the evening Jesus was sentenced to death, He was grateful.
“On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some break, and when He had given thanks, He broke it …” (1 Cor. 11:23-24).
Not often are the words “betrayed” and “thanks” in the same sentence, much less in the same heart. Jesus teaches us to thank God for everything. Every time we recite the Our Father we are expressing our thankfulness for our daily sustenance being supplied by God.
On Thanksgiving I put out a Thanksgiving Journal for everyone to sign and record their most precious blessing they received in the past year.
It has become not just a registry of who we celebrated Thanksgiving with each year, but a beautiful memory of the many blessings our family has received over the years. Our family and guests have the whole day to think about and write in the journal, which adds to their mindfulness of being thankful on that special day.
One other way to be more appreciative of our blessings is by keeping a daily Gratitude Journal. During your nightly prayers when you reflect on your day and all that God provided, that is a perfect time to journal your blessings. Make it a goal to add three things to the journal every night.
In the beginning it is easy to list the obvious things – health, family, love, faith, secure home … But then as the days go on and the bigger blessings are accounted for, you are forced to search for the smaller things that God puts out for us every day – singing birds, running water, a stranger’s compliment, a baby’s smile …
Just by thinking about the journal and making mental notes of things to add to it that evening can open your eyes throughout the day to the wonderful things God provides to make our days joyful. The three things that might normally be overlooked then take front space in your memory for possibly days. Thinking of these blessings could even become positive conversation starters as well.
Journaling gives you a place and reason to record happy events in your life as you sometimes excitedly write them down right away. Then too, when you are having a rough day, it can be difficult to search for even one thing to be grateful for. But when you find that little shining blessing it can brighten you up and help you find the positive side of tough situations. There are always those who have it worse in life than we do, so there should always be something you can find to thank God for — trained doctors, fragrant flowers on a casket, the setting sun to signal the end of the day, knowing the sun will rise in a certain number of hours again, the happy wag of a dogs’ tail no matter how long you’ve been out of the room.
I started my Gratitude Journal on Thanksgiving day of 2013. I am on my third book by maintaining the habit of recording three blessings almost every day. It’s been one of my favorite daily spiritual habits.
There are so many things to be grateful for: Why don’t you start a Thanksgiving Journal this year?
Copyright 2018 Colleen Mallette