3 Ways to Keep the Spirit of Thanksgiving Alive All Year
“Keep Daddy safe.” My son prayed the prayer with vigilance.
Day after day, week after week, and month after month he fashioned and offered it. His little two year-old lips sought the face of his heavenly Father for the safety of his earthly father.
The prayer was answered in precisely the way my son hoped. Eight months after his departure, my husband arrived home safely. But what happened next caught me by surprise.
Shortly after my husband’s homecoming, we sat at the dinner table, our heads bowed in prayer. When my son’s turn came to offer his petition, I fully expected to hear the familiar prayer. After all, he was only two years old. But that’s not what happened.
“Thank you, God, for keeping Daddy safe,” my son offered. His gentle words rang with sincerity.
Without coaching, Caleb turned his prayer into an offering of thanksgiving – straight to God Almighty. And it was beautiful.
Although my ears strained to hear the syllables, it seemed as though a megaphone was pressed directly from my little boy’s mouth straight to my heart. I heard the lesson clearly: don’t forget to offer thanksgiving.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll easily offer a prayer soaked with need to my Father. I’ll offer it in the shower, in the car, at the table, and even via text exchange with a friend. But my son’s beautiful words that day convicted me about another part of communion with our Father: thanksgiving.
It’s easy to offer a prayer, but sometimes vigilance with thanksgiving is forgotten, especially in today’s fast-paced world. I stood convicted.
My little guy’s words were a lesson and a wake-up call. They were a wonderful example of Colossians 4:2 put into action.
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; Col. 4:2 NKJV
This season we’re readying for the Thanksgiving holiday. We’re also in a spiritual season ripe for offering thanks. Here are three ways for us to remain vigilant with thanksgiving throughout the year:
1. Remember Our Salvation
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV
It’s easy to join the hustle and bustle of every day life, even as Christians. Sometimes our busy schedules, even those clad with good works, crowd time away from simply remembering our salvation.
Something powerful happens, however, when we stop and soak in thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifice and the forever love offered from Above. Imagine a Savior who offered his life even when our sins clouded life’s picture dark. No resentment, no “keeping tabs”, no “hey, this is not my gig”. Jesus simply loved and gave - and continues to do so.
And what about heaven? It’s a part of God’s picture for life, and it’s the place our Father has prepared for us. It’s void of tears and hurts. God’s ultimate destination for us overflows with love and good.
When I consider my awaiting home in heaven, it’s easy to offer an audible, “Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice. Thank you for forgiving my sins. Thank you for heaven. I look forward to life there with you.”
What if we remembered our salvation and gave Jesus thanks each day?
2. Look Around at Creation
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Gen. 1:31 NIV
Our God’s creation surrounds us. He deemed it – the animals and sky, the landscape and humans – as very good. All are opportunity for thanksgiving.
Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll look across the landscape and blurt a bit of gratitude for the view flowing past. After all, who doesn’t like a warm, brilliant sun or the clear blue of an endless sky? There always seems to be something our God created that’s worthy of thanks.
But God’s good creation doesn’t stop with the beautiful landscape. It also includes people – both friend and foe. We have a list of many, ready and waiting for thanksgiving.
What person or thing in God’s creation awaits our acknowledgement today?
3. Review Our Prayer List and Make a New One
Psalm 9:1 encourages a look around at the deeds God has done.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. PS 9:1 NIV
Many of us have prayer lists or regular requests like my little Caleb did. Some are scribbled in a notebook while others are the virtual version. Those lists are ripe, awaiting our review. As we near the end of the year, why not glance over those lists and offer God thanksgiving?
But we don’t have to live in the past only. What about the to-do list for today and upcoming days? What if we added a line or two for vigilance sake? A simple line for thanksgiving could do wonders.
So in this season, as Thanksgiving approaches, grab Colossians 4:2 with might. Stand vigilant with thanksgiving today and beyond.
Kristi Woods is a writer and speaker passionate about seeing women walk deeper with God. She clicks her words of encouragement at http://www.KristiWoods.net regularly and is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today and on various blogs. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have now set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.