With the changing of summer to fall, comes more than just a beautiful display of God's amazing artistry in nature, or the changing of temperatures from warm to cool, but with the physical seasons changing often times our hearts begin to change too.
As November draws near each year, people begin focusing on being thankful. There is the 30 Days of Thankfulness challenges that you see on Facebook, Instagram, and blogs. There are picture challenges to post a picture a day of something you are thankful for. Those things are good, don't get me wrong, in fact, I often participate in these type events. I'm glad that people's hearts are more attuned to thankfulness in the month of November but at the same time, I'm convicted that we may have missed the mark.
Thankfulness and being thankful is NOT just a season in our lives!
Did you catch that little word "always"? Always...regardless of the season, regardless of your circumstances, regardless of your emotions, always give thanks! Thankfulness goes beyond November.
As Christians, Thanksgiving and the season of thankfulness is more than just 30 days or a special Fall holiday, it should be an everyday experience and an everyday feeling. We have so much to be thankful for because of Christ. Take a quick glance at your clock and for the next minute, just one minute, start thinking of all the things you are thankful for because of Christ. Are you beginning to see how thankfulness is more than a season? Years ago, I read one of the most convicting quotes:
Let that sink in.....think back to what you prayed yesterday? Did you even take time to pray? If you did pray, what did you pray for? When I first read that quote years ago, I made a list of all the things that I could remember that I prayed for the day before. When I saw what my prayers had been and thought about this quote it put my prayer life into a whole different perspective. I talked with my Aunt Charlotte a few weeks after that day about my experience and she told me how she kept a daily prayer journal. The next time she came to town, she showed me hers and taught me how to make my own. In 1999, I started keeping my first prayer journal and still journal today.
This week, I read a fun idea on a children's ministry site. They suggested that you take a mason jar and turn it into a thankful jar. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, each member of the family will write one thing they are thankful for each day. The catch is that no one can look in the jar at all until Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Eve, you sit down as a family and pour out the jar and read all the notes of thankfulness. That is just another way to extend the season of thankfulness beyond November.
Have you ever thought that even God doesn't like to be taken for granted? He loves when His children talk to him through prayer and even our prayers and prayer requests should be tied in with our prayers of thanksgiving. God loves it when we have the kind of prayer life that includes thankfulness. Have you ever sat down to pray and been so burdened you didn't know where to start? So you just start thanking God for all His blessings and suddenly your burden is lighter, your heart is encouraged, and you feel hope? Being thankful is an attitude adjuster too!
So hear me out, I'm not saying that all the focus on being thankful in November is wrong. I'm simply challenging us to remember to extend that same type of focus on being thankful beyond November. Thankfulness is not a season. It's a Biblical command. It's a choice we get to make everyday.