I love Thanksgiving. I like the time with family and friends. I like the meals (although I think steak would make me feel more thankful than turkey). And I like really like that we take a moment to articulate our gratitude.

As I reflect on God’s blessings on my life in the current season, I feel an incredible sense of gratitude.

My wife, Angie, plays the role of chief encourager and caretaker of others, in our family, among our friends, and in our church. She believes the best about me and everyone else I know. And she makes far more of a difference than she realizes in the lives of all that know her.

My fifteen year old daughter, Ella, is beautiful and sweet-spirited and already way smarter than me. I recently watched her heart break over the poverty she witnessed in Belize and it reminded me of how God has given her a heart of compassion and a knack for leadership. And I’m thankful.

My middle son, Sam, recently gave his life to Jesus and wants to grow up into a strong disciple of Jesus. As Angie often tells him, God is going to do BIG things with him someday. And I’m thankful.

My youngest son, Drew, is a cuddler with an infectious smile and might have a future as as southpaw for the Cardinals. Last night, he knelt by his bed and prayed for his brother to feel better. And I was so thankful.

I’m also thankful for God’s provision in our finances, his protection of our health, and how he has surrounded us with loving people and a grace-filled church on a mission to redeem our city and our world.

I’ve seen God work this year in powerfully tangible way

That’s just part of my list. What’s on yours?

See, I think it’s a good idea to set a day aside just to be thankful. But it’s even better to run through the list on a daily basis, in prayer.

If you want your life to head in a positive direction, you must determine to be a positive person, even in the middle of negative circumstances. And that requires us to, as the old song says, count our blessings. To name them one by one. To express to God our gratitude for his loving and giving nature.

Turning Thanksgiving into a lifestyle means recognizing our unworthiness of the gift of eternal life and the goodness of God in giving it to us anyway. It means seeing every breath as provided and sustained by a Creator that loves us.

As the Apostle James, the brother of Jesus, put it,

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.

~ James 1:17 Message

Even if you don’t know or believe in God personally, you are still the recipient of his common grace. You are alive because he gave you life. And he is good. His gifts are always good. His plans are always good.

The healthiest, happiest, holiest people I know aren’t those who feel assured of their self-righteousness because they’ve obeyed a set of rigid rules about their behavior. Rather they are those who have fallen helplessly into the grace of God and live each moment with gratitude.

Make a list. Express thanks to God in prayer. Maybe even leave a comment below or share it on Facebook.

Thanksgiving is about intentionally reflecting on all that we have to be grateful for and expressing it with our lips and our lives.

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