Too many people, especially Christians, today live by proxy. They default into the world’s pace and expectations or they find themselves living from church activity to church activity. Though there is something to be said for being consistent and to a degree, predictable, I am afraid that the attitude of gratitude is disappearing because it is often left out of our hectic schedules.
Much like taking vitamins in the morning, brushing your teeth, and making yourself look presentable (for which we are all thankful), being thankful is a choice, it is an act of the will. If we do not purpose to be thankful, we will default into being ungrateful. That’s the natural tendency of the flesh. No wonder Patch the Pirate said, “If you don’t have a gratitude attitude then all you have is an attitude!”
How can we develop a gratitude attitude? And how can we keep this going throughout the year, and not just during the month of November? I have listed a few ideas. Feel free to add to the list if you’d like.
The first step to being thankful is to remember the God from Whom all blessings flow. Someone once said, “Thinkfulness is thankfulness.” The Psalmist said in the 103rd chapter, “Forget not all His benefits.” The reason we live, breathe, laugh, love, enjoy life is because God allows us to. Give Him the thanks and the praise He justly deserves.
Look For Opportunities To Thank Others
You’ve seen it before. A child receives a cookie or a candy from an adult. Then you hear the mom or dad ask the child, “What do you say?” We all know the answer. As a matter of fact, most children know what to say before they even receive that yummy goodness.
May I challenge you, don’t wait for some good deed to be done before saying “thank you.” Look for deeds already done and thank those responsible for it such as police officers, fire fighters, pastors, teachers, and various community helpers. Make it a point to thank them often.
During Family Devotions or Meals, Take the Time to Say Thanks
“Thank you, Dad, for dinner,” are some of the sweetest words I’ve heard my daughter say. But more than that, make it a point to draw out from each member of the family things or people they are thankful for. Dad and Mom, ask your kids, “What are you thankful for today?” It wouldn’t hurt to hear grateful parents, too! Refuse to accept generic and repeated answers because you can’t be lazy when developing a gratitude attitude. Encourage them to think through their day and learn to thank God daily even for what seems mundane. After everyone has shared, join together in a prayer of thanks to God Who provided all these blessings.
Write Thank You Notes
I must admit, this is an area I try to get better in all the time. It doesn’t take long to jot down a quick note expressing our gratitude towards others. Teach children early this good habit. Writing a note at least once a week can help develop an attitude of thanks and curb a selfish and self-serving heart.
Emails and texts work, too. But I believe an old-fashioned note shows more care and effort. Go ahead and try it!
Have a box where the family can drop notes when answered prayer and various blessings have been received.
These are just a few ways we can develop a gratitude attitude. It’s not an all-inclusive list. There are more ideas, I’m sure. Feel free to add to it and maybe by this time next year, you won’t feel like Thanksgiving crept up on you. It’ll feel like it’s always been there!