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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