An activity to make Thanksgiving not your usual


Pastor Rick Sams

One of my favorite movies is “Gravity” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. They are two astronauts stranded in space. The end is powerful. It was only thanks to a series of miracles (spoiler alert) that she was saved. As she looks up at the sky, her last line is “thank you”. Some moviegoers will say that she thanks Clooney, who sacrifices himself to save others. But I believe she is thanking a “nameless god” who she believes had something to do with her rescue.

An ATM customer mistakenly had a boat loaded with cash dumped into his car. She is caught on the security camera saying in a puzzled voice, “I don’t know who or what to thank, but thank you.”

Nine of 10 American families gathered for Thanksgiving… because… we have a God-designed need to thank. Watch a TED talk (Ted.com) from Dr. Shawn Achor, an expert in happiness studies. It proves how writing down three things you’re grateful for every day is one of the things that lower depression, blood pressure, and increase happiness, along with random acts of kindness, journaling, exercise and meditation.

If you want ideas on what to write on, here are a few that are a little out of the ordinary:

1. Try to thank God for something you have never thanked Him for before. (2 Corinthians 12: 7-12)

2. Thank him for something you still have, instead of what was taken from you. (Job 2:10; 13:15; 1 Sam 30: 1-6)

3. Thank him for something he has given or done for others. (even enemies? Luke 6: 27-31; 2 Corinthians 9: 11-15; Philippians 1: 3-6)

4. Thank Him for something that you believe He’s going to do because He promised it in His Word. (I John 5: 14-15)

5. Thank God for someone you never thanked him for. Then thank them directly. (I Thes 1: 2-10; 2 Thessalonians 1: 3-7)

6. Thank him for a characteristic of him that you haven’t thanked him for in a long time. (i.e. His “delight” in you; Zephaniah 3:17)

7. Thank him for who you become, not who you were. (2 Corinthians 3: 17-18)

8. Thank him for his Word, the Bible. Now show your gratitude by reading it regularly. (Joshua 1: 8; Psalm 119: 9-11; 105)

9. Give thanks who are the opposite of your feelings; it is meant to be a “sacrifice of praise.” (Hebrews 13: 15-16)

10. Give thanks with one-word testimonies, especially for your salvation (Psalm 51:12). But make sure you know that you only receive abundant and eternal life through Jesus. (John 10:10; 14: 6; I John 5:13)

Don’t resist the urge to give thanks. Let your thanksgiving flow and go all year round!

Rick Sams is Pastor Emeritus of Alliance Friends Church.

This article originally appeared on The Alliance Review: Bright Spot: An activity to make this Thanksgiving unusual


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