It’s that time of year again. The time of year when ads for pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin flavored donuts, pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that are everywhere and folks are preparing for family get-togethers and holiday meals. It’s that time of year where people begin doing those month-long challenges on Facebook…you know, the ones where they name something they’re thankful for every day? The leaves have all changed color and the early mornings and late evenings are crisp if not cold. Children come home from school with cutouts of decorated pumpkins, Native Americans, pilgrims, or turkeys.
I love this time of year because it’s all about family, food, and blessings but I often wish these things took precedence over all the hustle and bustle of life every other time of year, too. The book of Colossians focuses quite a bit on thankfulness which is something I feel we all overlook more often than not. Colossians 1:12 says, “and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light”. This verse can serve to help us remember to show our thanks to the Lord through our prayers and our behaviors. In today’s time it is easy to get busy and forget that our heavenly Father has provided us with many blessings. From the very breath we breathe to the clothes we wear, the food we consume to provide nourishment to our bodies, our relationships with others and even the lessons we learn in life, we can attribute all of these to God. How often do we stop to take the time to say “Thank you, Lord” for all the little things? How often do we wake up feeling blessed and thankful that we serve a just and gracious God? Colossians 2:7 uses the phrase “overflowing with thankfulness”. The definition of overflowing is “to be so full that the content go over or extend above the sides”(https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/overflow). Like this definition indicates, not only should we be thankful from time to time, we should be so thankful that we cannot contain it. We should share our gratitude with all of those around us as well. Another thing Paul encourages us to do in Colossians is to be thankful for the salvation of others and for the blessings delivered to those around us. We haven’t far to look to find someone near us complaining or struggling with something that has happened to them but how often do we take stock in what good has affected our neighbors? Not only does this show God that we truly are overflowing with thankfulness but it helps to reinforce our sense of gratitude for the blessings in our own lives.
While I think that the thankfulness challenge we see on Facebook during November is a good thing to participate in, I say we challenge ourselves to go much farther in this endeavor. I think personally, I am going to start a journal listing all the things I am thankful for each and every day for a full year. If you have any other suggestions for how to become more thankful in our daily lives, be sure to leave them in the comments.