7 Expressions of Gratitude That Could Change the Way You View Thanksgiving

What’s God’s will for me? We wrestle with this often elusive question, but the answer according to Paul and Timothy is quite simple.

God’s will for us is to be thankful.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

What does a life of gratitude look like? Thankfulness has a few disguises. Let’s take a look at some expected and unexpected ways to live and be thankful.

1. Hope

Hope is the attitude that says “thank you” before anything happens. Hope trusts the Giver of Life to keep giving life – even when darkness presses in. Hope fights to rejoice always.

“Emit gratitude as though it was done.” – Henri Nouwen

2. Generosity

The overflow of thankfulness is giving. We give generously because of the gifts and blessings within. God’s favor upon us is meant to be stewarded and shared. Generosity is thankfulness in action.

3. Creativity

Creativity is not just for artists. Who doesn’t love beauty? Color, beauty, light, balance and energy reflect our Creator’s heart. We give and receive beauty in each exchange of wonder which breeds creativity. To find beauty every day requires a spirit that finds things to be thankful for.

4. Stillness

Stillness is a sacrificial act of thanksgiving that says you value your time enough to pause and rest. It’s the remembering of truth, the receiving of love and the giving of thanks. Stillness never depletes, it only fills up.

5. Amazement

Let yourself be pleased, to feel wonder and to be caught off guard by beauty, joy and goodness. We are surprised and wowed by God’s love and favor, and so we become a student to amazement.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.” – Mary Oliver

6. Encourage

Encouragement is to see what you’re thankful for in others and to call it out. This takes courage, awareness and selflessness. Have eyes to see and ears to hear the Father’s heart beating in each of his people. Give thanks for the miracle of Christ in me (and you) the hope of glory.

7. Celebrate

All we are and all we have is gift. We can be thankful both as a discipline and as a response to overwhelming blessing and joy. We are showered with mercy and rescue we don’t deserve, yet the Father delights in lavishing it upon us.

“Gratitude goes beyond the ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.” ? Henri J.M. Nouwen

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Esther Laurie
Esther Laurie is a staff writer at ChurchLeaders.com. Her background is in communication and church ministry. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. When she’s not working, she loves running, exploring new places and time with friends and family. It’s her goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations.

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