Take Time for Thanksgiving

It's Nov. 1, the unofficial start of the holiday season. Some radio stations start playing Christmas music today. Stores will begin inundating us with Christmas sales flyers. We'll begin making plans for spending Christmas with friends and family. Our calendars will quickly begin to fill up. And somewhere in all this hustle and bustle, we'll fly through Thanksgiving and straight into Christmas. Thanksgiving tends to be the forgotten holiday. It's the holiday we skim through to get to Christmas. There's no big hype about Thanksgiving. It's become a day where we get together with family, eat Turkey, watch some football and read the ads for the big sales on Black Friday.

But Thanksgiving is important, and it offers an opportunity to focus our families' attention on all that we have to be grateful for. We can choose to use the month of November to create grateful hearts in our families.

Like we did last year, Everyday Truth is going to offer a daily family devotional that will focus your families' hearts on being thankful. Starting tomorrow, we're going to focus on one thing we can be thankful for each day. It is my prayer that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you'll have a family that really celebrated giving thanks.

Today, I want to give you the tools to get ready for this year's series of devotionals. A thankful heart is an attitude that comes when we look around and instead of seeing the problems and bad things in the world, we find ways to give thanks for all that we have. Being thankful creates joy in our hearts and can completely change our outlook on the world.

God has given us so much, and He loves to hear our praise and thanksgiving. Too often, we simply accept His blessings and forget to be thankful. Instead our attitude should be like David in 1 Chronicles 29:13, "Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."

Spend some time today thinking about all the things for which you are thankful. Write them down on a piece of paper. Add to the list as the day goes on. Pray and thank God for each of those things as you write them down. It is only when our own hearts are full of thanksgiving that we can show our children how a thankful heart contributes to a joyful home.

Take a minute to create a "Thanksgiving wall" in your house. In years past, we've made a Thanksgiving tree out of grocery sacks. Simply cut out a trunk and some branches out of brown paper or brown grocery sacks. Use colorful construction paper to cut out leaves for your tree. Each day, your family will write down what they are thankful for on the leaves, and you'll attach them to the tree. Younger kids love the tree.

A simpler version of the "Thanksgiving wall" and one that appeals to kids of all ages is to grab a pad of sticky notes. Whenever you do your devotional for the day, hand out a sticky note to each family member and have them write what they are thankful for on the sticky note. Then stick the sticky note to the wall.

We'll use the "Thanksgiving wall" every day until Thanksgiving. By the end of the month, you should have a wall covered with things to be thankful for.

Don't miss Thanksgiving this year. Take the time to offer up praise and thanksgiving to God. Focus your family's attention on the things God has given you. Make this a month of praise and thanksgiving before you rush into the Christmas season.