Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:3-5
Each year, I pray for creative ways to teach my children about thankfulness while reminding them of the history of the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a season of patriotism for me. It is a season of reflection. But more importantly, it has become a 4 week workshop where I attempt to prepare my kids' hearts so that they are grateful for the Christmas gifts that they receive.
We want to spoil them. They want to be spoiled. Win- Win, right? Well, we don't like the inevitable pressure to "wow" them. We don't want to sacrifice and give gifts to kids that are not appreciative. That's why I love that Thanksgiving comes first. We can enter the season with a fresh reminder of the generosity of Jesus Christ and the blessing to live in a free country.
Each year, I pursue subtle ways of teaching our kids about being thankful. I pump them up on Thanksgiving: the history and the Christian perspective on this food - centered holiday. Then just a few weeks later, we turn right around and spoil them to the best of our budget. Some years, the result is precious, thankful responses to that Christmas bounty. Once or twice, I have seen that dreaded look of disappointment. But we always have a super fun family day together, playing games and taking pictures.
My prayer is that as they grow and mature in the Lord, their gratitude will grow too.
We don't take care of our kids because they are thankful. We don't bless them because they deserve it. Jesus did not die for us because we worshipped Him. He died for the whole world, even those that will never believe that He is who He said He is.
This week, I asked God how to teach thankfulness to my family. "Lord, do they need more chores to appreciate the value of money and understand hard work? Do we need to have a family devotion on the matter? What, Lord, what? I am worried about them making extravagant wish lists. What should we do?"
He changed the subject while I was still talking. Although that is frustrating when another person does that, it's so great when the Holy Spirit does that. He had something to say to me, and I did want to miss it.
Instead of parenting tips, the Lord reminded me to be thankful. He wanted me to show my three children what this season means to me. He said, "sing songs and read Psalms. Be quick to say thank you to Dan and the kids when they do something that you appreciate. Bring an attitude of thanksgiving home with you."
Then confession time began, because I have been frustrated with the price tag of Christmas and the not getting homework done in a timely manner and the messy rooms and the unmade beds. While trying to trick my kids into a false humility, I have been missing out on living Thanksgiving.
No more! I heard His message loud and clear. When the Lord changes the subject, I want to change too! So, I'll start now with some worship time. Gotta go and get my praise on. . . Thanks for reading.