A turkey dinner celebration may make your pants feel tighter around the waist. But I’m not referring to that kind of transformation!
When thanksgiving to God becomes woven into our daily moments, delightful changes begin to take place in our hearts and lives:
1. He Directs Our Paths (Makes Our Way Straight)
As we acknowledge God in all our ways throughout the day, He promises to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). For example, we can thank God for wisdom when making decisions. When we turn on the water faucet, we can thank him for plumbing and clean water. When we press the “start” button on the washing machine or dishwasher, we can thank Him for those conveniences. When things come together for us, we can thank God for how He makes all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). As we acknowledge Him in all our ways, our path becomes plain and ordered by God.
2. We Draw Closer to God
When you enjoy a close friendship with someone, it’s easy to talk with them and you look for opportunities to get together. So it is with God. When we talk to Him throughout the day, acknowledging His goodness and thanking Him, our friendship with Him deepens. Thanksgiving makes us feel closer to God.
3. We Receive Grace (Divine Favor)
Whenever someone gives us something or performs an act of kindness toward us, it is an act of humility to thank them. We acknowledge something they did for us instead of thinking we are our source for everything. James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Grace is God’s divine favor. It’s often explained as God giving us what we don’t deserve. The Greek word for “grace” is charis, and it is inside the New Testament word for “thanksgiving, eucharistia. It is impossible to separate grace from thanksgiving!
4. We Become Happier
As we acknowledge and thank God throughout the day, He directs our paths. We feel closer to Him and receive His grace. These benefits make us joyful and happy. Think about it. Have you ever known a thankful person who is unhappy?
The word “grace” in the New Testament comes from a word meaning “to rejoice exceedingly, be glad.” You might say that joy and grace are bound up in thanksgiving!
5. We Become Kinder
When you practice thanksgiving, you’re happier and don’t get your feathers ruffled so easily. Since I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal, I’ve noticed annoyances that used to bother me aren’t a big deal anymore. Giving thanks transforms us from the inside. Instead of trying to free ourselves of undesirable traits, like anger, negativity, and criticism, God gives us the grace to become more like Jesus Christ.
More Benefits of Thanksgiving
Many people have felt isolated and depressed with the social distancing brought about by COVID-19 guidelines. Science has proven that writing down what you’re thankful for will lift your mood and bring you more tranquility and restful sleep. Gratitude journaling also produces health benefits for your brain and heart.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of thanksgiving, check out my new book, The Secret to Health and Happiness: Gratitude Journal and Devotions. You’ll find biblical devotions to inspire you in the simple practice of gratitude journaling. Discover the transforming power of giving thanks!
Be Thankful for One Another
If you’re fortunate enough to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, take time to think about the benefits of interacting with others. If you can have a few laughs together, that’s good for you and something for which you can be thankful. If you’ll be alone or know someone who will be, try to brighten their day and reach out to them by phone or computer. Tell them why you’re thankful for them. You’ll feel better for it, and they’ll feel better too.
May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with thanksgiving, grace, and joy!