It’s hard to imagine finding gratitude in a year like the one we just bounced and fumbled through. But trying circumstances are exactly the time to hone in on the aspects of life for which we are thankful, and we depend on them for a sense of contentment while we wait to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If anything, the events of this year have caused us to take a step back and feel gratitude for the aspects of life we often overlook: our health, friends and family, our jobs, and our faith.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we hope that you’re reminded of the things that make each day worth living, and that it will all continue to bring you joy into the holidays and the year ahead. And if you need a little push, the staff at Grit and Grace Life share the verses that remind them to find thankfulness in every season.
Here are some verses on thankfulness:
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1
“Don’t Wait to Celebrate”
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
This has been my favorite holiday season yet! Not because I’ve been healed from my two autoimmune diseases. They’re still causing my body to harm itself. Not because I won the lottery. My husband and I must still live quite frugally. Not because I finally have my home organized and decorated the way I’d like. There are many messes and bare walls. Most of my daily frustrations and acute pain points linger. But, it’s almost as if all of those things have caused me to search for the good, search for God, and simply lean into this holiday season—a very clear opportunity to enjoy and give thanks for the life he has given me.
When October hit the calendar, I brought home cute Halloween books for my kids from the library (free fun!), let them wear their costumes any time they asked (why not?), made pumpkin pie for the first time (even with a restricted diet, I figured out a way!), picked out the biggest pumpkin we could find (you should have seen my kids’ faces!), emptied it (while sort of regretting the choice to purchase the biggest pumpkin of the patch), roasted its seeds (again, free and festive!), hosted people in our home (they didn’t care about the bare walls and mess), had my grandma over to watch our favorite Christmas movie together (a memory we both already cherish), purchased matching Christmas jammies for my little ones (they’re only going to allow me to do this for so long), and we put up our Christmas decorations halfway through November…
I, someone who has never been very festive, pre-ordered my ticket for the holiday train. I am all in, and I have no idea who I have become, but let me tell you—I am having a ball. And I am so thankful.
So, as Katherine Wolfe (a hero of mine) says, “Don’t wait to celebrate.” It’s the whole “when life gives you lemons make lemonade” concept…but with pumpkins. And, I think the reason the Lord tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) is that he knows these actions bring healing to our hearts in the here and now until we receive complete healing in our tear-free eternity. Yes, we may be facing various trials and heartache, but there is always something to rejoice over as long as we have breath in our lungs. God has given us this one, fleeting life, so celebrate every possible thing you can—especially him. No matter what constraints there seem to be, you can get creative and still catch the train. All aboard!
Ashley Johnson — Managing Editor
Read more from Ashley here.
We Get to Rejoice
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing… Psalm 68:3-6
This verse has become my anthem. I’m considering getting it as a tattoo, but I’m not sure I’m that cool. What I am sure of though, is that God goes above and beyond to bless and care for His kids. Every unforeseen shaking of my circumstances, He’s there. In fact, He’s ahead of me, making the way, turning it to good, sustaining me within it. I can, and should, and will, choose thankfulness because He is faithful. Just. Good. Loving. Generous. He is God, and thankfully, I am not, I’m one He has chosen to love in spite of all my faults. Can I get an amen?
Julie Bender — Brand Ambassador and Co-Host of This Grit and Grace Life Podcast
Read more from Julie here.
Thankful Because God Is Still Good
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His steadfast love endures forever.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid, we would all pile in our old red station wagon and take the two-hour trek up to New Jersey to stay at my grandparents’ house for a big family celebration. There was something so magical about those long weekends—from the hours I would spend in our little attic bedroom (that used to be my mom’s), to the closeness with my grandparents who remain to this day two of my favorite people to ever walk the face of this planet. But most of all, the magic was in the Thanksgiving celebration itself. The whole family would gather in my grandparents’ tiny home, table upon table squeezed together down their living room (because everyone was welcome at their house), and we would take turns sharing what we were grateful for before diving into a huge feast fit for a king.
I can’t even think about those days without getting a little misty-eyed.
Things are different this year. My grandparents have been gone 20 long years, I’m in a new state with a family of my own, and our holiday will be much smaller because of the pandemic. We’ve had a long year, with lots of confusion, separation, and fear, and this Thanksgiving feels more like a long sigh of relief that we’re nearing the end of a battle rather than a celebration of the bounty this year has brought us.
But this verse, oh this verse, it just reminds me that God is good, no matter what. This Thanksgiving might look different, no large family gatherings, a much smaller turkey, but God is still good and He’s still working and we will still give thanks to Him because we are healthy, we have each other, and His love never ceases.
Meaghan Dawson — Manager of Editorial Development
Read more from Meaghan here.
Thankful for the Hard Days, Too
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5
It’s easy to be thankful for the good days, at least for me—the days when all is well in the world. But the tough ones can be pretty challenging to feel any degree of thankfulness. Yet those are the days that bring about the best in our lives. Prodigal children teach us to pray. Lost opportunities can bring new and often better things we didn’t even know were there. Problematic relationships allow us to learn and display true grace. It is in health challenges that we can discover our greatest source of strength. While those days are daunting and the pain is real, may we be thankful. Thankful that we will endure. The tough days will make us stronger, more resilient, and compassionate when developed, all traits that will remind us of the hope that we embrace every day, the good ones and the tough ones.
Darlene Brock — Co-founder and President
Read more from Darlene here.
Thankful for Something, All the Time
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I’ve always loved these verses because I felt like God was giving us three tenets to abide by for contentment in life: joy, prayer, and thankfulness. And they all make sense when you think about it. When we’re joyful, we can bloom wherever we are, even if we’re still on the way to where we’re meant to be. Prayer is our lifeline to God—whether we cry out in a moment of fear or happiness, He has an ear bent down to listen. In these verses, we’re told to do all of these things constantly, without ever ceasing, and that also includes being thankful in all circumstances.
I’m of the mindset that even when it seems like everything is going wrong, there’s always something to be thankful for. Maybe your health has taken a hit, but you have a loving family at your side to make sure you’re comfortable and taken care of. Or perhaps you lost your job, but you do have your health. None of these situations are ideal—hardly ever will we find a moment in life where everything has fallen into place at the same time—but there will always be something that you can be grateful for (even if you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to identify exactly what that thing is).
Because this year has been so—ahem—different from past years, I’ve taken more time to recognize all the parts of my life that I’m utterly thankful for. I had two jobs that let me work safely in my home during the onset of the pandemic. My longtime boyfriend asked if I would marry him (I said yes). My family—who’ve all remained shielded from contracting the virus—have lovingly pitched in to help plan my small wedding and eventual move out of state. My big, silly dog rubs his whole body against my legs every day as a way to say “hello.” I’m grateful for my simple morning coffee to rouse me out of my sleep-coma (I’m also thankful for sleep), and now as we head into the holidays, I’m increasingly excited and oh-so thankful to celebrate Christmas. I love the colorful lights and the music and my old 6-foot tree, but more than anything, I’m looking forward to celebrating the little baby in the manger who grew up to make all of these things in my life possible. To Him I’m so thankful.
Tess Raines — Editorial Assistant
Read more from Tess here.
Here are some more verses on gratitude:
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! 1 Chronicles 16:8
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12
Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24
Want to read more articles on gratitude? Start here:
Can We Find a Way to Be Grateful for the Tough Stuff?
100 Things a Grit and Grace Woman Believes
You Are 15 Minutes Away from a Better Day
Make the Decision to Be a Woman of Strength
Love the Life You Have Today: Here’s How
Bible Verses From the Grit and Grace Team on Joy
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