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5 Ways to Put the ‘Thanks’ in Thanksgiving

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We’re told to be grateful, count our blessings and give thanks. We’ve seen it on our social media feed all day.

It’s hard enough to pause and give thanks while we’re running on the hamster wheel of life, yet odd as it may seem, it can be even more difficult on the fourth Thursday of November.

There’s turkey to eat, football to watch, Black Friday ads to peruse, and couches to nap upon!

Who has time for thankfulness?

Alas, it’s easy to turn a blind eye toward giving thanks on a day specifically designed to do so.

But I’m here to tell you we can put the thanks back into Thanksgiving and have an attitude of gratitude.

Let’s reclaim this national holiday and make a conscious effort to show appreciation to God and others. Here’s how.

Pray

Prayer may seem hard like exercise, or even confusing. What do you do? For how long? When? But it’s really quite simple. A grateful person stops to give thanks as an act of obedience, because God calls us to pray – and we must respond.

We like spending time with kind people on this day, right? Then we might as well spend some time with God, who loves us more than anyone and has given us everything we have.

You might even consider attending church or a prayer service as a family today. What a purposeful way to spend an eventful day.

Recognize God’s presence in others

We all came from our Creator, born into his image and likeness. It’s particularly essential that we realize Christ’s presence in others.

Whenever we’re part of a group – work, school, clubs, or volunteer organizations – we’re making a public statement of unity.

Just by way of being Americans, we know we’re all in this together and must serve each other. Today makes for an inherently good day to set aside grievances, or better yet, seek forgiveness from others.

Focus on the good

We’ve all fallen into the trap that life stinks.

We wish we made more money, that our job would improve, that our bodies looked better, or that relationships weren’t so complicated.

Today, let’s focus on the good – the people in our lives, the moments that have yet to happen, the joy we’ve already received.

There’s power in making conscious choices to think positively. It’s tempting to complain or blame others, but we’re ultimately in control.

Redemption is a wonderful thing.

Be a positive force for others

Take that optimistic energy and pass it on. Like an athlete who elevates others’ games, emotions are contagious.

In the new film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Tom Hanks portrays the revered Mister Rogers who helps a jaded magazine writer overcome skepticism and learn about kindness and forgiveness.

We may not have the media prowess and celebrity of Mister Rogers, but we all – as human beings – share that same capacity for love.

Show how thankful you are

When a couple gets married, the covenant is marked by more than just saying, “I do.”

Immediately following those words, it’s time to do something. It’s for better or for worse, and the couple suddenly becomes compelled into serving the other person – putting the other person first.

As such, you can’t love others without some measure of action.

It doesn’t take much to do little niceties, offer small surprises, or do the unexpected. Employers love it when workers go above and beyond.

Now apply that point of view to your Thanksgiving, and you’ll really show thanks to those you love.

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