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How Do You Practice True Thanksgiving?

November has shown up like the much-anticipated family member you love but who also drives you a bit crazy. This week I was thumbing through my old holiday notebooks and came across a question I wrote long ago that invited a thoughtful, deep breath sort of pause.

"How do you practice true Thanksgiving?"

More than a one-day holiday, a bunch of recipes, or football traditions, how can you make Thanksgiving a constant attitude versus an annual event? The question is a good one which I hope shapes my days ahead. Below is my answer, but more importantly, what's yours? Before all the list-making, shopping, cooking, and preparations, I invite you to consider it for your own heart.

How do you practice true thanksgiving?

You practice true Thanksgiving by stopping.

Deeply seeing all of it. Not just the obvious things, but the hidden secret lovely things. You know the ones. It's using every bit you have to love, encourage, and uplift. It's not missing one single chance to impress upon those you come across today that you see them. You give them your attention in such a way that they feel significant, valued, and worthy.

You practice true Thanksgiving by listening.

You listen to how God whispers to you. Maybe setting aside what you are doing, turning off the TV, the phone, and lighting a candle. It's listening to your own heart, and what others are saying to you without using words.

You practice true Thanksgiving by pouring out.

Pour out wherever you can, whenever you can in gratitude. True Thanksgiving means you pour out encouragement to people you love and also people who don't deserve it. Whether you have food, time, energy, cookies, turkeys, a place at the table, a blanket, or open arms, share what you have, whenever and wherever you can.

What about you? How do you practice true thanksgiving?

In a world that wants you to hurry up, hustle up, get ahead, and take it all for yourself, let's be counterculture to practice true Thanksgiving. Together, let's be secret agents of goodness in our corners of the world.

Slow down, get quiet, listen well, pour out, and love those who don't deserve it. True Thanksgiving looks like leaving the blessings of Christ in your wake, wherever your feet fall.

May all your days ahead be marked by stopping long enough to scatter your own version of blessing, wherever and however you can.


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