Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Day thirty-one in the devotional is the outline of a Thanksgiving sermon I shared in 2019 titled, “How To Give THANKS”. I’ll finish out this series of posts with a week focused on the points from that sermon. Here is point four with a reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should lead us to both rest and give others permission to rest.
How To Give THANKS:
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.“
1 John 3:18-20 (NIV)
This version of “How To Give THANKS” is based around a “made-for-the-movies” stereotypical family thanksgiving day. Here is one of the six things I think we can learn about giving thanks from a traditional Thanksgiving Day gathering:
We give thanks to God, and to others, when we give:
- Naps: 1 John 3:18-20 — Ahhh . . . turkey, plenty of good humor, an abundance of food . . . I’m tired. What good Thanksgiving Day gathering would be complete without a Nap? We give thanks when we give Naps! When we allow a person to relax and rest we communicate that we value both them and their time. If every interaction with a person has you walking away knowing that they expect something from you it is not likely that you will feel a true appreciation regardless of any words of thanks. Resting is a God-given concept and gift that we typically don’t use enough ourself and seldom think to give to others. The sabbath concept, a day of rest, is connected by God to the fact that on the seventh day He rested from His work of creation. We, and those around us, are more tolerable when we give thanks with naps.
As we prepare to wrap up a month pursuing a “Heart of Thanksgiving”, I pray that each of us would continually be reminded of all that we are thankful for. As you pray, ask God to help you live a life of thanksgiving every day. Pray that your representation of Jesus would show a thankful heart to the people around you. And thank you for your love, prayers, and encouragement.