The Art of Appreciation

“Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.”

Psalm 105:1

I love Thanksgiving for the the things big and small it provides. An opportunity to watch my wife do her thing in timing all the different entree’s to be done as close together as possible. There is nothing worse than cold green bean casserole, ha. I love the weather. It makes no difference if it’s sunny or raining. I have always loved the Fall seasons with the change in weather as well as all the colors that come with it. I like being at the grocery store watching people fill their shopping carts to the brim with all the items needed to make a feast for family and friends. I wish I could know the one item they have forgotten to get so as to help them from that last minute panic when you realize you don’t have what you need. I love the smell of the house and all the things cooking. And the scent of candles. There is something about Thanksgiving that makes the aroma even more pleasant. I love when our family is all here together and there is so much noise from conversations and children playing you can hardly hear. Oh yeah, and I love when my dog barks with joy for all the excitement going on around her.

So many things I love about Thanksgiving. Yet, as much as I throughly enjoy all that I have written down the thing I love most is to sit and pray and listen as the Lord brings to mind people from this past year to appreciate in prayer and to give thanks for. I love sitting down on Thanksgiving Day and counting the many blessings in my life that come by the way of people. Primarily, people close by and people far away who enrich my life with their’s. Each year as the Lord quickens to my mind names and faces of people some have been on my list for years and are almost automatic and yet each year the Lord always provides new friends who like a cold drink of water on a hot day are refreshing to my soul.

I had someone ask me yesterday how they could be more thankful this Thanksgiving and as we talked we together came up with a little list of things to do to help each of us get the most out of our Thanksgiving Day this year. First when it comes to enjoying food on Thanksgiving don’t be picky about what you eat. Try this biblical method we read about in the book of Acts that will help us grow in our appreciation for God’s provisions and also expand our pallets. Peter up to this point in his life had never eaten anything common or unclean, so he wasn’t about to try something new. The Lord told Peter it was ok to no longer be picky and now all he had to do is what the apostle Paul tells us to do in Romans 14. If we can give thanks to God for the food in front of us we are free to enjoy it. If our conscience won’t allow us we can give God thanks we don’t have to eat it. It’s all according to the faith we have. One key then to being more thankful is being open to try new things. Don’t be so picky!

One of the things I am most thankful for this past year are disappointments. My wife and I are in the middle of kitchen remodeling project and if I went down the list of disappointments we have faced along the way I am sure I could get some sympathy. Yet the disappointments have served to make me more thankful for what I already have and are shaping me to be more appreciative of what we will have once its complete. More than anything else this past year, my disappointments are shaping me to be a more thankful person.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” Did you know that by deliberately thinking about being thankful and counting your blessings everyday will in time rewire your brain to be more grateful. The apostle Paul put it this way, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Start thinking about being thankful today and watch how God changes your heart to be more thankful.

Make a list each day of things you are thankful for. If you are like me you forget, and the older I get the sooner I forget. The good thing about writing down things you are thankful for the more conscious you become of them which helps in our ability to call them to our mind regularly. I love what Psalm 139:17-18 reminds us, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” Now there is something to be thankful for!

The best way I have found to become more thankful is by serving other people. Nothing makes us grateful more than helping and serving others expecting nothing in return. It’s true that you can’t help other’s without helping yourself too. The happiest and most grateful people I know are people who are committed to serving others. Make the most of this Thanksgiving by choosing to serve those around you.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”

Philippians 1:3  


Michael Osthimer





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