Come with me, this November, into a purposeful and intentional embrace of thanksgiving.

Your Invitation to a Purposeful Thanksgiving Life

Sunday Scripture

“How odd,” I thought as the word jumped off the page and into my startled brain. I’d never noticed it before, but there was the word thanksgiving, dangling off the end of the sentence like an afterthought:

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Colossians 2:6, 7 (ESV, emphasis mine)

“How does this work?” I asked my journal. “What is the connection between “established in the faith” and “abounding in thanksgiving?”

Always vigilant for the spiritual growth of his fledgling churches, Paul traced the progression as he saw it:

  • First, they were taught. (7)
  • At some point, this led to them “receiving Christ Jesus the Lord.” (6)
  • “They became rooted, built up, and established in the faith.” (7)
  • Their lives were characterized by an abundance of gratitude. (7)

In his letter to the Romans, Paul confirms this connection between gratitude and faith by lamenting a glaring absence in Romans 1:21.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. “

Maybe you’ve seen this same slippage in your own “prone to wander” heart? I’ll confess that one reason the word thanksgiving stands out to me in a biblical text is that for me, it’s a continual fight. My heart needs the music of gratitude, pulling me back always toward the center who is Christ. John Piper put it succinctly:

God has appointed gratitude as one of the essential guardians of your soul.”

We have an enemy, and our souls are always in need of protection. It’s not our first instinct to honor God or to give him thanks. So often we fall into patterns of futile thinking as we chase joy and fulfillment where it just can’t be found.

Come with me, this November, into a purposeful and intentional embrace of thanksgiving. During a month when we’re all experiencing the surreptitious slide toward the Holiday of Hurry, let’s guard our souls with gratitude.

I’ll be writing about the biblical invitation to give thanks and also sharing my own personal practices of gratitude right here. Together, we can be counter-cultural practitioners of the kind of gratitude that will guard our souls from the flurry of anxiety, comparison, and covetousness that threaten to steal our joy!

If you know of someone who would be helped by a November commitment to Thanksgiving Living, I’d love it if you passed on my invitation. And if there’s a particular spiritual practice or tradition that’s holding our heart in gratitude these days, be sure to share it below in the comments!

Michele Morin

On the Third Thursday of every month, I send biblical encouragement and newsy insights to newsletter subscribers. Heads Up: There’s another book giveaway in the works, and it’s going to be a BIG ONE! Click here to subscribe and be sure to spread the word.

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44 thoughts on “Your Invitation to a Purposeful Thanksgiving Life”

  1. We can never be too grateful! I’ll look forward to your series, Michele, and your practices of gratitude. I keep two journals for the purpose of expressing my thanksgiving to God. One is a looseleaf notebook, begun in 1983, as a record of God’s faithfulness to our family–His protection, provision, blessings, etc. There are now more than 1300 entries! The other is a Celebration of Small Things. Each day I record at least one thing I’m grateful for, such as an event from the day, an observation, a conversation (online or in person), etc. Gratitude is a powerfully uplifting exercise!

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  2. Great reminder scripture about being thankful is an important part of our Christian walk with God. I’ve never done a gratitute or thankful journal, but what a great idea. I sometimes jot them down, but so far my thankfulness has been part of my prayers. Happy Sunday.

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    1. I feel as if I have to “put it on” in the same way we are told to “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” in Colossians 3. Maybe it’s better to think of it as Christ putting it on us?

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  3. The habit of keeping a gratitude journal has been life changing for me-over a decade not of daily writing down my blessings and thanks.

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    1. Oh, Elizabeth, that’s wonderful! I made it for about six years, and it truly was life changing. I’m happy to be picking it back up for at least the month of November. Maybe it will persist…?

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  4. I have noticed slippage in my prone to wander heart. You are so right to highlight the connection between thanksgiving and faith. Thanksgiving reminds us of all the blessings of our faith. I have an unfinished gratitude journal squirreled away somewhere. Maybe now would be a good time to locate it.

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  5. I just can’t believe that we’re already in the month of our official Thanksgiving holiday. Even in a pandemic, time still flies so fast. I love the Piper quote. Gratitude is definitely a spiritual discipline that I need to keep on my front burner these days!

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  6. I had not thought of gratitude as a guardian, but I can see that it is. I participate in a “Friday’s Fave Five” link-up, which helps me stop and recount and be thankful for the blessings of the week. Sometimes I’ll recount things I am thankful for in the moments before I drift off to sleep. But too often, my thanksgiving is scattered or unexpressed. Especially in situations where I’m prone to see the problems, issues, setbacks, and hard parts rather than the good hand of God.

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  7. Heaven will be amazing, but the gratitude and thanksgiving will be off the charts. We can’t comprehend it until Jesus is right there in front of us, and we acknowledge what exactly He did for us!

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  8. Shared this invitation with others, Michele. My study Bible is the ESV, so I love the Colossians 2:6,7 passage. The thought of being rooted and established in Christ (as we were taught) is what makes thanksgiving abound!

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  9. Michele, good morning! This year it was either choose gratitude … or sink. In the midst of all the challenges this year has presented, I’m finding that speaking thankfulness out loud and often to be a real spiritual and emotional game-changer.

    And yes, it all springs from faith that’s been tried and tested and come out on top. Thank You, Jesus …

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    1. I’ve really been encouraged by my kids’ responses to all the challenges of this season. In my opinion, young adults have been among the hardest hit by disappointment, and how can I help but be thankful?

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  10. Michele, I never viewed this verse in this manner. I love how you broke it down, and how you describe gratitude as something that guards our hearts against the enemy. There’s so much truth here!

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    1. It’s so important for me to remember every day that I may not have a choice in what happens, but I do have a choice in how I respond. Gratitude guards my heart from comparison or discouragement.

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  11. Beautiful message, Michele! I am one of those people who celebrates thanksgiving all year long. If I don’t count my blessings daily and tune into how much gratitude I have for my life and all the wonderful things in it, I get way too lost in all the noise and chaos in this world. Living a thankful life has definitely increased my potential for unlimited happiness! Thanks for sharing and linking with me.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  12. Getting into the habit of giving thanks is so helpful! I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for the last few years, and it does make a difference. Just this week, even in the midst of disappointment, I found my mind turning towards something to be thankful for. That definitely doesn’t always happen, but it’s great when it does!

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  13. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  14. As someone in the UK, thanksgiving is not a term we generally use. But there are so many things that we should be grateful for that I wish we had a special day to celebrate and offer thanks for all the blessings we have received. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

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  15. Our happiness seems so intertwined with gratitude. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to have one without the other. It’s definitely something that we’ve felt too, in abundance this year. Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeamLinky

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