How to Have Joy at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a supposed to be a time to give thanks.

For many of us, Thanksgiving feels overwhelming.

Lengthy to-do lists dictate our time and drain our energy. We keep busy planning meals, shopping for food and preparing our homes to host families and friends.
If you are familiar with Joy Starts Here you know that eating is an opportunity to bond with the one who gives us food and start some joy with each other. Instead of simply filling our bellies we can use food to nourish our relationships as well.
Make your Thanksgiving meal more joyful and meaningful. Scripture and brain science tells us gratitude and appreciation are essentials we should not overlook. The benefits of gratitude can stay with us for months. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5 to, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (19-20, NIV) Do not worry if you aren’t a singer or worship leader, you can express your thanks by appreciating the people and God’s gifts in your life. Start some joy this Thanksgiving with a short exercise around your Thanksgiving table.

  1. Take turns expressing appreciation for the people around you. Share one quality you appreciate then express a heartfelt blessing for them.
    “Bob, I appreciate how you always care for those around you. May God bless you with an increase in peace.”
  2. Share something from your year that brought you joy.
    For example, “I enjoyed the second day of our summer vacation when we were all together sitting on the beach watching the sunset.”
  3. Mention one quality about God you appreciate, share why you appreciate this quality.
    For example, “ I am grateful that God is faithful. This year God helped us have the funds for a new roof.”

As you practice the exercise notice how you feel. At the end, invite friends and family to share what they noticed from the exercise.
Take a moment to give thanks!
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3 Comments

  • Nov. 26, 2014
    Chris,
    Jim Wilder and I are acquaintances from high school days. We occasionally keep in touch. I live in La Mirada, CA. A couple years ago my wife and I met up with Jim and Kitty at a Subway Restaurant at the junction of I-60 and I-605.
    I am curious about the following quote about you: “After overcoming years of struggling with fear and addiction, Chris has become an advocate for spreading joy.”
    I can relate to your experience, at least the fear part. I’d be interested in chatting with you about the transformation in your life and how you now advocate joy.
    Our family plans to get together tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I may do this exercise that you suggest with them.
    I hope you enjoy a terrific Thanksgiving.
    Colossians 2:6 & 7
    Ray delahaye

    • Hi Ray,
      Thank you for your note, it is good to hear about the history with Jim and Kitty. Yes, I would be more than happy to chat more. You can contact me about setting up a time here:
      chriscoursey@lifemodelworks.org
      I hope your Thanksgiving was joyful Ray!
      Chris

  • Dear Chris
    I live in Kampala, Uganda.
    I am grateful and excited on this life model and Thanksgiving.
    Its really nourishing an good reminder on working closely and in knowledge of God and a reminder of giving back.
    I would be more happy to chat more with you on this life model

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