I know it’s only October, but I can’t help straining my eyes toward the next month of the calendar, and the holiday it celebrates: I love Thanksgiving. Time with family. Delicious food. The warm colors of autumn decorating the house while we eat pumpkin pie. The spirit of thanksgiving wraps my heart in joy like the ooey-gooey deliciousness of a caramel-dipped apple.
Sometimes I wonder if Jesus would actually prefer to celebrate his birthday on Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. Somehow, I think the grateful hearts and humble gatherings of November seem more his style than the consumer blitz that seems to take over December.
It saddens me that Thanksgiving so often gets lost in the holiday shuffle. Stores start packing the aisles with Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. The sight of Santa and the sounds of jingle bells start showing up on TV commercials in early November. As if there isn’t an entire month in there before Christmas! As if there isn’t a perfectly wonderful holiday we get to celebrate before we start wrapping all the presents.
As if we shouldn’t just pause a minute to enjoy all the beauty and goodness of our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been guilty of moving too quickly toward Christmas myself. As much as I love Thanksgiving and want to make time for gratitude in my life, I’m also a “plan ahead” kind of girl. And with December looming, my brain starts spinning. There are Christmas band concerts to attend and treats to be made for classroom events. Family parties to plan and gift shopping to think about.
This holiday season, I don’t want gratitude to be an afterthought.
This holiday season, I don’t want gratitude to be an afterthought. So I decided to design a “12 Days of Thankful” List Journal I can use to reflect on my blessings. I’m sure I’ll still feel the familiar tug toward Christmas planning and everyday distractions, but this is a simple way I can “plan ahead” to spend at a few moments in thankful reflection each day.
Would you like to join me in this little journaling project? You can download the free printable journal for yourself at the end of the post. In it, you’ll find a brief prompt for each day, with room to jot down a list of things you feel thankful for. It’s short, and sweet, and should only take about five or ten minutes each day.
But those few minutes will help us tackle the rest of our day with a lot more joy. Because that’s what gratitude does: It gets our eyes away from our culture’s constant quest for “more” and reminds us that we are already so very blessed and loved.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17
Let’s not wait until the end of November to be thankful this year. Let’s sneak in a few minutes each day to fill our lives with gratitude for all that God’s given. I’m praying this little journal will brighten your heart and help you enjoy a “Happy Thanksgiving” any day of the year!
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