I Thessalonians 5:18
What’s the difference between the character quality of gratitude and the character quality of thankfulness?
Is there a difference?
In our home, gratitude seems to show itself when we notice the “things” we have been given. Thankfulness is the attitude we have toward the people who have served, benefitted, or extended love toward us.
Is your family a thankful family? Do the folks who invest in the well being of your family know that you are thankful for their investment? If not, the Christmas season is a perfect opportunity to show your thankfulness in real and tangible ways.
Encourage your entire family to make an extensive list of all the people for whom you should be thankful. Your list could include such people as: teachers, pastors, mailmen, grandparents, neighbors, coaches, mentors, and more. Some families have built on-going relationships with delivery boys, stylists, and even waiters and waitresses.
(In our family, we eat out so often that many of our regular servers know us by name and keep up with our family happenings. We are thankful for all that they do to serve us well.)
After making your list, get out nice paper, well-inked pens, and set to work. It doesn’t take much time or effort to write a simple letter of thanks to those whom have served your family and that little letter will brighten and encourage the recipients. Encourage your children to think creatively and to make each letter personal to the person they are thanking. I.e. no “To whom it may concern” letters!
After writing the letters, mail or hand-deliver them to the various folks on your list. For our neighbors, we often baked cookies or made sweets to accompany the letters. Our thankfulness, generously offered, will be an encouragement to those who took the time to invest in our family.
Don’t forget to be thankful for the members of your own family as well!
We often spend time going around the dinner table sharing why we are thankful for each family member. Those children, and sometimes parents, that feel as though their efforts are never noticed or appreciated will bloom in the glow of thankful praise.
The book of Thessalonians reminds us to be thankful for everything! In other words, there’s nothing in our lives for which we can’t be thankful. As we’re diligent to practice thankfulness, our joy and contentment will overflow.
Developing a character of thankfulness will keep us from taking other people for granted. Thankfulness helps us to recognize and remember all that has been done for us, and often serves as an encouragement for us to serve others as well.
Don’t waste another minute… Begin exhibiting your thankful character today!