Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving gets the squeeze. Even Black Friday sales bleed over into Thursday. Now I’m all about Christmas as long as Jesus remains its focus, but we do harm to neglect Thanksgiving.
“Thanks” and “thanksgiving” pop up over one hundred times in Scripture. Yet surprisingly Hebrew has no specific word for thanks. The presence of “thanks” comes from English translators. The Hebrew word usually translated “thanks” is best rendered “to give public acknowledgment.” Dr. Ron Allen explains, “In the Old Testament culture, the word used in place of thanks was praise. That is, one would tell another what God had done, rather than merely saying, ‘Thank You, Lord.’”
And perhaps that’s why Thanksgiving and thanksgiving are neglected.
Though I may give thanks in the quiet of my personal prayer time, I’m not as eager to proclaim God’s work in my life to the girls at the gym. So, here are a few ideas to help us not only develop the habit of giving thanks, but also to help us articulate what God has done, first to our families, and then to others.
- Pray before you eat—at home and in public. Jesus modeled this often, “After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat (Acts 27:35 NIV).” Take a moment to recognize His provision.
- Create a Thanksgiving tree as part of your fall décor. Have family members write on leaves the things for which they are thankful. Keep it God-centered. What has He done? How has He impacted them? Psalm 118:21 says, “I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.”
- Put up a dry erase board in a central spot like the kitchen. Encourage the family to write God a thank you note when something significant occurs. It doesn’t have to be major event to have significance. 1 Corinthians 15:57 reads, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Practice giving thanks at home, then branch out as November progresses. Who knows, by December, your thanksgiving may create an opportunity to share what Christmas is really about this holiday season.
Workout of the Week: The Neglected Holiday
Memory Verse: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
Meditation Passage: Psalm 103
Do It: Practice praising God in your family, then branch out to others.