What’s Inside: How you as a mom can prepare your heart for Thanksgiving and teach your children how to do the same.
Thanksgiving is approaching quickly. It always amazes me how fast it comes. Thanksgiving has always been so special to me. Not least of all because I was born the day before, so depending on when the fourth Thursday of November falls, Thanksgiving and my birthday sometimes fall on the same day.
Despite this, I always like to take stock and reflect my heart on what I’m thankful for. So how do you prepare your heart for Thanksgiving and allow God to make special changes that are necessary?
Get Past The Obligations
Thanksgiving often comes with family dinners and several days’ worth of preparation. Obviously you want to have a wonderful dinner that’s special, but when you get down to the heart of it, that isn’t what Thanksgiving is about.
In fact, history tells us that George Washington wanted called for a public annual day of Thanksgiving and prayer after the American Revolutionary War. But it didn’t become an official holiday until 1863 when Lincoln announced it after the Civil War. Both men wanted to show thanksgiving to God after the trials and victories of their respective wars.
It has nothing to do with Pilgrims and Indians. It has to do with how you prepare your heart for thanksgiving to God and how He’s brought you through your own trials and victories.
It’s not about a dinner
Yes, we gather together with our closest family and friends on this day. We enjoy the food that’s prepared and the company of loved ones, but it has to be more than that.
If you blow past the thankful aspect of this day, you forfeit the extraordinary opportunity we have to understand why God values thankfulness.
What Thanksgiving Means To God
The Bible is one of the many sources of God speaking to us. This is why reading the Bible daily is very important for a mother to do. All scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), so everything in the Bible is what God is saying to us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV). He wants us to take stock of everything going on in our lives and say thank you to God for them.
Even if they are unpleasant situations. God has His hand in everything that goes on and He turns everything around for His good. Whatever is going on, good or bad, God turns it around for His glory. We need to be so thankful for what He does.
When we show God our thankfulness, He sees us as being a grateful person. Gratefulness is very important to God. We see that when Jesus healed the ten lepers. After He healed them, only one came back to show his thankfulness. Jesus showed His disappointment when He questioned where the other nine men were.
When we show our thanksgiving to God, He is amplified and praised for who He is and what He deserves. We owe that to Him. He definitely deserves more than just one day of receiving thankfulness, but it definitely helps to have a day dedicated to it.
How A Mom Can Prepare Her Heart
1. Read your Bible every day
When you read your Bible daily, you allow God to speak to you. It gives God the opportunity to reveal things in your life that you either need to hear or change.
2. Pray prayers of thanksgiving
When you tell God all of the wonderful ways He has provided for you, protected you, encouraged you, you will see God’s blessings in your life. God rewards those who have a grateful heart.
3. Serve your family with joy
Yes, being a mom is full of many mundane days when you’re doing the same things over and over. Most of the time, your family may not even noticed because you’re always doing them. It becomes like white noise.
This can definitely sour your attitude. However, when you keep your attitude joyful and remind yourself to be thankful for the family you have, you remember the mission God gave you to take care of them.
4. Make a choice
It’s simple – you can choose to be happy with what you have or you can choose to be ungrateful about everything. It starts with your heart. If you choose a heart of gratitude and thankfulness, it takes discipline and dependence on God.
It’s yours if you want it.
Prepare Your Children For Thanksgiving
I know with my kids, they’re always really excited about Thanksgiving. With the all the yummy food that comes and the family get together that happens, they look forward to this time of year.
It’s great that kids look forward to Thanksgiving for these reasons, but it’s important to help them realize the true meaning.
By helping them understand the importance of a thankful heart, you help them understand why God values a heart like this. If you want them to be thankful, grateful adults, you have to sow the seeds when they’re young.
Help them to understand that when they complain about the things they don’t have, their focus is in the wrong place. While you prepare your heart for Thanksgiving, you can work with them to prepare their heart as well.
Teach them to be thankful for the things that they already have, rather than the things they want. Remind them that God loves to bless those with a grateful heart, and try to put it into practice all year long, and not just for this holiday.
Another way you can help your children prepare for Thanksgiving is by teaching them how to pray prayers of thanksgiving every day. For my kids, they say their prayers before meals. I’m constantly having to remind them to say thank you to God for their food.
It’s easy to forget to say thank you when what you receive comes on the regular.
You’ll know you’re getting through to them when you start to see fruit from the seeds you sow in them. And when you do, it’s an exciting feeling!
More Than One Day
When you prepare your heart for Thanksgiving, and that of your kids, remember that it has to be an action that’s more than one day of the year.
Thanksgiving and harvest time are great reminders, and a time for families to come together, but it also means that it’s something we have to work on all the time.
When we practice thanksgiving to God all year round, we learn to give thanks in all circumstances. That’s exactly what the Bible tells us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing about being a Christ-follower is. Yet we’re called to do so.
We can’t control what comes at us, but we can control how we respond.
Start today by getting in the habit of a grateful and thankful heart. Soon it won’t be so difficult and it will be second nature. Your kids are watching you. When they see what you’re doing, they’ll follow suit.
Heidi St. John says that you can’t pass on what you don’t possess. Let’s start wearing a thankful heart so that when our kids are grown, they’ll already be wearing it.
How are you going to start preparing your heart for thanksgiving today? Share in the comments!