Thanksgiving is almost always the holiday that gives a definitive nod that the Christmas season has finally arrived. We often give little more than a cursory glance at Thanksgiving, but the Bible makes clear that the act of giving thanks is something that should happen on a very regular basis.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. [1st Thessalonians 5:18]
In preparing for Thanksgiving, this verse from 1st Thessalonians caught my eye. Not only are we to give thanks, we are to give thanks for everything. Not only are we to give thanks in everything, it is the will of God. The intentionality of this verse is what struck me. Everything. The great, the wins, the increases, the successes, the moments when life happened just the way you hoped… and the hard, the bitter disappointments, the strains, the deserts, the setbacks. In everything give thanks.
This Thanksgiving my challenge for you is simple, but far from easy: Be intentionally grateful for everything, but take time to be especially grateful for the circumstances in the past year that have been challenging. Set aside some time and answer these questions below, examining your heart and ultimately finding reason to give thanks to God.
- What is one highlight of the year that you are particularly grateful for? Why?
- What is a low point in the year? What about that do you see to offer thanks to God for?
- What relationship(s) have you seen grow this year? In what ways?
- Is there a relationship that you’ve really struggled with? Give thanks for that person and for the refining that God is working in you through this circumstance. Regardless of the hardship, what is one thing you are grateful about this person?
- Name a few moments from the year that left you feeling refreshed and renewed. Give thanks for those opportunities!
- Now, name some of the biggest pulls and drains on you. Name some specific ways you can give thanks for those “everythings”. Are you thankful for the chance God gave you to boast in your weakness? Thankful for the chance to rely more fully on His strength? Grateful for the reminder to look to only Him?
- Give thanks for the goals you’ve reach this year! Isn’t God good to give you the strength to push through and taste those accomplishments?
- Give thanks for the disappointments and setbacks that happened this year, knowing that none of them surprised the Lord and that He works all things for good.
Leave a comment below and tell us one “everything” you are grateful for this year.