Thanksgiving is such a happy time of year. Home after home is counting their blessing and recounting the good things that have happened since last thanksgiving. This provides a great opportunity for parents to help their children know what it means to be thankful people.
What does it mean to be thankful?
Though we spend a lot of time talking about things that make us thankful, it might be just as important to think about what it means to be thankful. Here are a few thoughts about thankfulness and how we as parent might be able to help our children better understand the holiday before us.
A positive response to something we experience that we tell others about.
Positive: When we are thankful, we experience happy thought and emotions. Thankfulness is a good feeling. You will not be able to be thankful and angry at the same time (At least that would be really hard). A question that might help you understand what you are thankful for is, "What makes you feel good?"
Response: Thankful feelings are always in response to someone, something, or an event. For instance, many people are thankful when they are with their family, because their family brings them happiness.
Shared: Thankfulness turns into thanksgiving when we speak of our thankfulness with others, especially the person responsible for it. Thankfulness is best when its shared. We can experience our thanksgiving again and again as we recount the events and the people we are thankful for.
There are two distinct characteristics to the thankfulness of Christians.
First, we recognize that all good things come from God. James 1:17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." Our God is responsible for all good things that come our way and we praise Him for this. He is ultimately the cause of all our thankfulness and we trace all of the good events and gifts in our life to Him. No thanksgiving is complete without recognition that God is responsible and worthy of our thanks.
Secondly, God is personally responsible for the greatest event and most wonderful gift that we have ever received. We are thankful above all things for Jesus. He is the final and greatest gift of all. John 3:16 tells us that, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." We should always be thankful that God loved us and offers forgiveness through his Son, Jesus.
Read Psalm 106 today and feel what Christian thanksgiving should be like. Recognition of our sin before God and the amazing way that God loves us in spite of our sin and rebellion.