Thanksgiving is about more than turkey. Though none of our lives are perfect, we have so many things to be thankful for. We all have life and breath and the possibility of so much joy because of it. We have people who care for us and people we care about. We have somewhere to live, a computer or phone to read this on, food water, electricity and so many other things that we hardly ever think about. Our standard of living is higher than 99% of those who have lived on the earth. And most of all, we can be thankful for Jesus, who came and showed us God’s love by dying and rising again from the dead to save us. Thanksgiving gives us a time to reflect on all of these things and to demonstrate our thankfulness to the people around us.
For some of us, Thanksgiving is difficult because it means that family drama will surface again, and it reminds us that our family situation is far from ideal. For others of us, it brings back painful memories of a missing loved one or another difficult thing in their lives.
Whatever the case, we have a great opportunity to show our family and those around us what true thankfulness really is. The holidays offer a great time to share and show the gospel to people we don’t spend a lot of time. Here are a few ways that we can show the goodness of God in our thankfulness this Thanksgiving:
Give Glory to God
First, we must recognize that every good gift in our lives is from God (James 1:17). Everything good is from Him, and we cannot take credit for it To give thanks to God is to give Him glory.
Take Genuine Interest in Family Members
Instead of spending time together with family or friends to give thanks, many people get distracted by all of the holiday festivities. Between the Macy’s parade, NFL football, tryptophan-induced naps (turkey comas), and Black Friday extravaganzas, many spend a lot of time not giving thanks with others. Be intentional and actually have meaningful conversations with your friends and family (with the TV off!).
Thanksgiving has quickly turned into thanksgetting. Instead of giving thanks for what we have, we focus on getting the things we don’t need. Our attention can quickly switch to a search through the endless Black Friday ads as we begin the compilation of our Christmas wish-lists. And the retailers know it, which is why they’re opening early in the evening on Thursday, like Walmart which opens at 6pm. Consumerism kills gratefulness; true thanksgiving is shown through contentment. And as your remain content with what you have, others will see that “godliness with contentment” (1 Timothy 6:6) is greater gain than the best doorbuster deal.
Share What You’re Thankful for on Social Media
Instead of only posting pictures of the amazing thanksgiving food that you’re eating, why not post about the things that you are thankful for. Use social media to be a witness for Christ by showing people an attitude of thankfulness there.
Don’t Complain or Gossip
If there’s one thing that destroys gratitude, it’s complaining. Even if the dinner table turns into a dispute, “do all things without grumbling and complaining, that you may be blameless. . . in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15). Complaining shows ungratefulness and a lack of trust and contentment in Jesus. To be a witness to those around us, it’s essential to avoid complaining.
Share the Gospel
In the midst of conversations with our family and friends, lets be mindful of the opportunities we have to not only show the gospel in our actions but to share it with our mouths. Don’t be afraid to talk about the message that we are most thankful for.
This Thanksgiving, let’s take the words of Paul seriously when he wrote, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Doing this will display the goodness of God and the glory of salvation to the family members and friends that we spend this holiday season with.