Never Too Late for an Attitude of Gratitude

photo-nov-21-4-39-55-pmI think it’s safe to say “Thanksmas” is in full swing everywhere I go.  Just days away from one of my favorite holidays, and I’m as guilty as anyone about fast-forwarding through November most years.  A Facebook meme I saw on October 31 pretty much summed it up: “At the stroke of midnight on Halloween … BAM! Christmas carols everywhere!”

Honestly, though.  I had to make on candy run midday on Halloween and found most of the candy already shoved to the side and the seasonal aisles already overflowing with red and green dish towels, and coffee mugs and ornaments emblazoned with famous reindeer and “ho ho ho” – and not one single sign of Thanksgiving on the shelves.

In a time when I am constantly asking myself how my three kids can seem so ungrateful sometimes, I finally realized that I’m not setting a very good example.  Sure, I tell them all the time {and I do mean All.The.Time} to be grateful for the continuous blessings God gifts us  We say a of prayer of thanks before each meal we sit down to together.  And anytime they are complaining about not having the one wish list item they are certain they need RightThisVeryMinute, I am quick to remind them that there are thousands of kids around the world who would be grateful for a fraction of the toys they have recently discarded.

But as I rush through November, trying my best to keep up with Christmas cards & decorations, dinner parties and gift exchanges, while trying not to double-book myself during the kids’ classroom parties, I find myself more stressed out and disgruntled than ever.

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The spirit of Thanksgiving is lost in my to-do list and it’s apparent in my attitude.  Lucky for me, God knows that repetition is key for me and He knew exactly what I needed to hear.  The first nudge was in a book I had been asked to review ahead of its launch date.  Next was during an online book club discussion, for a book I haven’t even started reading.  Same message.  Same fleeting moment of thoughtfulness.

Third time’s a charm I guess because I was sitting in our staff Bible Study at school when that same message started to make me squirm in my seat.  God knew He was finally getting through to me.  Just to drive His point home, as fate would have it of course, our sermon at church four days later could have been the expanded version of my Bible Study.

A grateful heart is a happy heart.

A spirit of gratitude is incompatible with a grumpy attitude.

At the suggestion of my book club friends, I have become more intentional about spending time thanking God for my blessings, big and small, and am encouraging my children to do the same.  We started a Thankful Jar last Christmas that I just unearthed from one of the dozens of boxes from our recent move this past week.  I loved reading the notes that were already in there, and am excited to add more in over the course of the next year.

Don’t worry, it’s nothing fancy if you want to make your own. We had an extra mason jar in the pantry (old vases work too!), wrote “in everything give thanks” {1 Thessalonians 5:18} on some we construction paper found in the craft drawer and tied on it onto the jar with some twine from our Christmas decorations box!

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I hope you’ll join me in spreading an attitude of gratitude along with joy and good cheer this holiday season!

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