Can you believe it’s almost November? Already? November brings with it thoughts of family gatherings, endless entrees, delightful desserts, and crowded stores as we prepare for the season of giving. Savvy stores and TV shows are already preparing us for the season of buying and gift giving, convincing us that we can never really have enough, therefore, we should come and acquire the latest gadget, program, technology, or product. Commercials now appeal to our cravings and awaken our dissatisfactions with our present reality, promising fulfillment with the next purchase. Wedged between Halloween and Christmas, is a season somewhat overlooked and undervalued. Cherishing this season, however, may help us to find happiness through contentment, and true joy through gratitude.
The meaning of Thanksgiving has been veiled to the point that many refuse to acknowledge its roots, simply referring to it as “Turkey Day.” The true value in Thanksgiving, however, is not in the mere celebration of a day, but in developing a “gratitude attitude.” Lewis Howes in his book, The School of Greatness simply says, “Life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude.” What is an attitude of gratitude? Andrew Merle says, “An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike.” This is the journey that I want to invite you to take over the next 30 days. A journey of saying “Thank You” for the big and small alike. Although everyday will not be perfect, by finding something to be grateful for each day, you and I invite peace and praise to displace negative emotions. Even modern medicine has testified to the power of gratitude by affirming that an attitude of gratitude can improve your physical and mental health. Gratitude and joy in life is so important that Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4:4 saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (NIV)
In the month of November, we are choosing to count our blessings, not our burdens, and to elevate our thinking above consumerism toward contentment. How do we embrace 30 Days of Thankfulness? Here are 5 steps to cultivating gratitude:
- Begin and end each day by expressing 3 things for which you are thankful.
- Start a gratitude journal by taking 5 minutes a day to write about your blessings.
- Invite others on the journey of gratitude and celebrate your blessings together.
- Focus on your progress even though you are not perfect.
- Meditate on God’s promises and be thankful for His unfailing love, His amazing grace, and His endless mercy.