“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Once again we find ourselves in a season of change and harvest. A season brought about in remembrance of an overabundance of bounty, following a period of little to no sustenance. A season when we are challenged and reminded to be thankful. The Facebook feeds begin to flood with “30 days of thankfulness” pictures and posts, memories and celebrations of a special day to remember and be thankful. At least, that is what we are supposed to think or believe or focus on.
But how thankful are we really when we only focus on a day, month, or season of the year? How truly thankful are we when we focus only on the good, forgetting there is good that comes out of the bad? What if we were thankful every day? For the good, the bad, and the ugly? What if we take our thanksgiving year round? It’s not bad to stop and take a moment of gratitude, but what if we could do so much more?
A new challenge I offer. Let’s go beyond thirty days…beyond a holiday… beyond a season. Let’s be intentional, always joyfully praying continually in all circumstances, all year round, of thankfulness.
If you already keep a journal, add a last entry for your day, “Today I am thankful for..”. If you don’t journal already (or even if you do), consider keeping a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write out 3 things you are grateful for. I would take this challenge one step further. For three months, we have a seasonal gratitude focus: November (Thanksgiving), December (the birth of Christ), Easter month (the death and resurrection of Christ). When these months come around, we can stop and reflect, in gratitude, on those seasons and what they mean to us personally and spiritually. I challenge you to take the other 9 months and focus on a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). At the end of each day, what opportunities did you have to practice love this month, joy the next month, peace the next, etc.? To your family, coworkers, friends, neighbors, strangers, acquaintances, etc.?
This year, go beyond the season to be thankful for those opportunities. They serve to help you give thanks in all circumstances, strengthen your faith, and continue developing Christ likeness. For today: What 3 things are you thankful for?