Simple Spiritual Practices for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday! It’s a little less cluttered with material goods than Christmas and can (if we let it) exert a unique influence on our development of a Kingdom life, an eternal kind of life. We’ve found this happens best when we build in some basic spiritual practices around the holiday to create an ongoing, daily spirit of thankfulness to our Lord.

We start our own thanksgiving practices early—the first of the month! On November 1st, we hang a Thanksgiving Calendar in the walkway and divide up 30 index cards evenly between us and begin thinking and writing down the events, people, or blessings over the past year for which we’re genuinely grateful. Once we’re done we put the cards (randomly) into the pockets of the calendar. Then, before dinner each day, we pull out the index card for that day and read it together. We’ve found this turns our meals (and month) in the direction of genuine thankfulness—which a great thing in and of itself, of course, but is also an especially appropriate way to end the Christian year, before the first Sunday of Advent (the first day of the Christian calendar) rolls around!

In the evening we also try to make time for at least two minutes of thanksgiving—two minutes we intentionally free up for spending in silence or thanking God aloud for anything that comes to mind. This practice focuses us not just on the past year’s events, but also on the little events of our day. Sometimes John will have more to share, and sometimes I will. The only rule is: no requests of God during these two minutes are only words are to be words of thanksgiving.

It’s also worth considering giving a gift, in Jesus’ name, to someone you know who is in need, as a thank offering to the Lord for how He has blessed you or your family. If you have children—especially pre-teens or teenagers—you might want to consider having a family discussion about some person, family or organization that you as a family might be able to bless this season. We’ve seen families who do this watch their children catch the gift of worshipful thankfulness from an early age, and even begin leading the way in living it out once they’ve caught it!

As the year comes to a close, may the LORD bless your remembrance of His gifts!

– John & Erika Saladino