Countdown to Thanksgiving by counting blessings

Published 7:30 am Sunday, November 21, 2021

Several Facebook friends countdown each day in November until Thanksgiving Day by posting something specific for which they are thankful.

Friends have expressed their thankfulness for time spent with family and friends.  One friend wrote a note of thanks to “people who volunteer their time to work with young kids in youth sports and activities.  It’s a difficult and often thankless job.”

Other friends have posted their thanks for having hot water, clean drinking water, a warm house on a cold night, the privilege to vote, having a job, and “Jesus dying for my sins.”  Another friend recently posted she was “thankful for the beautiful sunrise and the promise of a new day.”

A few years ago, a thankful Facebook friend began writing “Three blessings from God” every day of the year.  Here’s one of his lists: A healthy heart! Power of Prayer!  Going Home this morning!  He also posted these three:  Nothing can separate us from His Love! Chicken and rice. Coffee filters.

I need to ask him if he got the idea from author Ann Voskamp.  I once read her New York Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts.  I highly recommend it.  One November, she began a list of 1000 blessings or gifts from God.  In a notebook, she began writing three things for which she was thankful every day.

Voskamp says in her book that the practice of giving thanks “is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present in His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes.  We don’t have to change what we see.  Only the way we see it.”

Psalm 100:4 tells us to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

Ann Voskamp says, “How my eyes see (perspective) is my key to enter into His gates.  I can only do so with Thanksgiving.  If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for everything?  And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory.”

“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”  She shares many of her 1000 gifts in her book.  For example, she includes, “Mama delivering chicken soup to the back door, forgiveness of a sister, and toothless smiles.”

She writes, “Thanksgiving – giving thanks in everything – prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ.”  The Apostle Paul put it this way, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17, & 18a).

A familiar hymn written by Johnson Oatman reminds us, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God hath done!”  I think pen and paper helps us really count our blessings.

As Voskamp discovered, “Remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust – to really believe.”  An attitude of gratitude can turn thanksgiving into thanks-living.