“Our attitudes color our whole personality,” says the Life Application Study Bible says. “We cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can choose our attitude toward each situation. The secret to a happy heart is filling our mind with thoughts that are true, pure, and lovely, with thoughts that dwell on the good things in life.”
The turn of each new year gives each of us a special opportunity to look back on the previous year and how our mindsets and perspectives affected our circumstances. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8 (NLT) guidelines we can use in choosing our attitudes: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Giving thanks is most associated with the holiday of Thanksgiving, but even in the mid-holiday seasons, we can focus on that which we are thankful. I wonder if the early pilgrims adopted their celebratory attitude about God’s provision from the Bible. God instructed his people in Deuteronomy 16:13-15 (NLT) the importance of intentional gratitude: “You must observe the Festival of Shelters for seven days at the end of the harvest season, after the grain has been threshed and the grapes have been pressed. This festival will be a happy time of celebrating with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows from your towns. For seven days you must celebrate this festival to honor the LORD your God at the place He chooses, for it is He who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.”
While still early in 2020, we have a special chance to reflect on life and cast out all bitterness, grumbling and complaining. This is a precious opportunity to think of ways to establish and carry on traditions that will be remembered years to come. Our children will love to “brag” on the efforts we make to prepare for wonderful days of holidays or any special day in the new year. They may not show gratitude now, but one day they will remember with fondness. While they will reminisce on the food that was served and the guests that came, our attitude and effort as parents in preparing for events – and in following through with everyday life — will go far to deposit either good or bad in their hearts when it comes to family memories.
Have you considered that having a grateful heart and being thankful is a choice? Every one of us makes the choice as through which eyes we will view our world. Shopping, working, cleaning, and other regular day-to-day activities can be seen in the shadows of family time, laughter, sharing, and a thankful heart. For example, making weekday dinner can turn into making special treats for each family member that tell each person by your actions that you “were thinking of them.”
Each day provides a wonderful gift in truly celebrating the good hand of God in the land of the living. As in Psalm 50:14 (NLT): “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” It will go far to model, teach, and train our children that a thankful heart and attitude are our “gifts” to God in return for His goodness to us.