And… just like that, the holidays are here.
Every year, we are faced with the same two options. We can follow culture like a zombie, dragging ourselves through the chaos of holiday parties, travel, shopping, cooking, decorating, and spending time with family and friends (which often brings both joy and pain).
Or, we can choose to capture the essence of the season by living an intentional life for the next six weeks. We can enjoy the holidays–with her ups and downs–but also be committed to making an impact along the way. The good news? It truly is your choice!
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will share four ways to make an impact this holiday season. These are easy, practical things that you can do to ensure that this holiday season will have a deeper purpose for you and your family. The first way? Practicing thankfulness.
A Thankful Heart = A Good Life
Often, we’re so busy moving forward–trying to juggle all the things of life–that we simply forget how beautiful our lives are. It’s so easy to be obsessed with what is going wrong or the stuff that we don’t have. We forget about all the good things that we do have already.
Be Thankful in the Valley
Now, let’s be real. We’re all dealing with various battles in life. Often the journey gets hard; we struggle to be thankful when we’re so focused on the negative.
These negative things are very real; usually, they can’t be ignored. Often, the problems of life–the reasons you are in the valley–are out of our control… sickness, tragedy, depression, and more. Yet, even in the midst of the valley, even when we can’t think of a single thing to really be thankful for–this is the very moment that we need to practice thankfulness. This single act can change everything.
No doubt–the holidays can make our problems seem worse. Yet, I believe that when we practice being thankful, we remove the fog. Rays of hope shine down from the Heavens into the valley to fill us with joy.
Be Thankful On the Mountaintop
Maybe life is going amazing right now. You are in a season of blessing and abundance. Often, when we’re on the top of the mountain, we forget to take a step back, pause, and practice being thankful for the all good things that we have.
Remember, these seasons don’t always last forever. We shouldn’t live in fear, but we do need to be realistic. We just don’t know what battle is around the next corner.
So enjoy and be thankful for the now. Whether you’re in a valley, trudging through the mundane, or you’re on the mountaintop, living an amazing life, you can help your soul become and stay healthy by expressing thankfulness.
Practice Makes Perfect
The key is this: you have to actually practice being thankful. Write it down, say it aloud, or tell your family and friends. Being thankful is powerful in private, but it really matters in public. Like a muscle, the more you practice the art of being thankful, the easier it becomes. Being thankful will truly change the dynamics of your life. You will be filled with more joy, be content in the good and bad, and overcome life’s toughest challenges.
Here are a few ways to practice thankfulness this season:
- Take 5 minutes to write down the reasons why you are thankful.
- Gather your family or friends together and share with each other three reasons that you are thankful. Don’t be general; be specific.
- When you come together around the table to break bread this holiday season, have each person share one reason why they are thankful.
- Don’t forget–not everyone has family, food, or a home to celebrate in. Being together with family over the holidays can be good or bad, depending on family dynamics. Those emotions are real, but you can still practice thankfulness in the midst of the tensions.