3 Steps to a Happier Thanksgiving

I have a confession to make: I’ve done Thanksgiving the wrong way my entire life. Bad news, you may have too. I’m not just talking about the gluttonous overeating, the utter laziness or the drama that inevitably ensues when we gather with family.

I’ve failed at Thanksgiving at its very core. I thought that celebrating Thanksgiving correctly, simply meant creating a list of things I’m thankful for, but the habit of making this list has left me unhappy and unfulfilled. After some careful thought, I think I may have figured out what’s been missing. These 3 steps will help us all have a happier and more satisfying Thanksgiving:

  1. Speak in — Talk to yourself. Ask yourself, “What has God given me that I don’t deserve?” If we’re really being honest … it’s everything we have! But let’s narrow it down. Be specific. As we talk to ourselves about God’s grace in our lives, we see how good and gracious He really is. This awareness of His presence helps us be that much more grateful for the blessings we have received and for the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
  2. Speak out — This is tricky. Go ahead and go public. Find someone you normally crack jokes with and brag about God instead. Don’t pick someone you don’t know very well — they’ll look at you like you’re an alien. And don’t make this about you, but instead point out how lame you really are. When we focus on our lameness and speak out about God’s graciousness to us, we’re helping others see the unchanging beauty of who God is. Ultimately, we replace the garbage we’d normally talk about with shared thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:4).
  3. Look around — Ask yourself, “Who around me really needs a punch in the mouth?” Maybe you’re not so violent — that’s a good thing. But, chances are, there are plenty of people who you feel deserve some serious karma. When we reflect on how gracious God has been to us, we’re inspired to share it and live it. Look at Jesus. Live like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Don’t be afraid to treat people in ways they don’t deserve. It doesn’t mean you let them off the hook, it means you’re helping them see the One who can actually change their heart.

For more on Thanksgiving, check out these posts:

5 Ways to Have a Missional Thanksgiving

5 Truths About Thanksgiving

To learn more about how to be happy all year round, take a look here:

“The Happiness God Offers”

Authored by NCC Assistant Pastor Christian Glisson northcentral.org

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