I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed it or not, but when Paul the Apostle starts listing out the sins that will be prevalent in the last days, (2 Timothy 3:2-5,) sandwiched in the middle of them, right there between things like pride and blasphemy and despising everything and everyone who is good, is the sin of BEING UNTHANKFUL.
When you check out this list of sins, honestly, being unthankful seems a little out-of-place among them, at least to our typical way of thinking. But it should be a warning to us that a lack of gratitude is more dangerous, (and destructive,) than we often realize.
So how do we harbor an attitude of thankfulness? How do we encourage within ourselves a grateful heart and mind?
Surely you remember the holiday classic White Christmas where Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sing “Count Your Blessings”. I think we all see the value in acknowledging and naming those things we’re grateful for, (it might even help you sleep!) but a few months ago I read about the importance of writing those things down, too, and it inspired me to start a Journal of Thanks.
I began my journal in early summer and I write in it almost every morning as part of my devotional time. It’s been a good practice for me, because not only am I making myself recognize my blessings, I’m also recording them in a concrete manner that I can go back and review, especially on those days when maybe I’m finding it a little harder to be thankful.
I don’t generally write more than a paragraph or two, and some things are recurrent themes in my Journal of Thanks. My home and family seem to show up in every entry, but often there are answered prayers to be thankful for, or something very specific will come to mind and I include how grateful I am for it.
Like trees. For years we lived in a house without any trees. As I look back over my journal for the past several months, I’m amused at the times I’ve been grateful just for trees and squirrels and birds. And acknowledging even the simplest of blessings does so much to change my attitude and perspective, even on those days when circumstances or moods leave me feeling less-than-thankful.
It’s a simple gesture, but it’s been a good exercise for me, one I plan to continue. On this Thanksgiving week, and all the year through, my Journal of Thanks is a constant reminder of God’s goodness to me and to my family.