After Thanksgiving: Cultivating a Thankful Countenance

IMG_0611Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, andbless His name.” Psalm 100:4

“…Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.”1 Peter 3:15b

Most days, I’d say I’m a rather thankful person. I tend to look at the glass as overflowing with blessings, way more than half full.

I love the VeggieTales video Madame Blueberry: A Lesson in Thankfulness(if for nothing else, the “love song” by Mr. Lunt to a cheeseburger). In it, a little girl…well, veggie…sings a song that describes a thankful heart as a happy heart.* That’s me—happy to shout to God for His beautiful, amazing love and presence in my life!

But…does my facealways reflect my thankfulness?

Would someone passing my vehicle describe me as a “thankful driver”? How about the person at my workplace who sees me at my job? Am I a “thankful employee”?

What about that lady standing beside me in the long line at the post office? Do I look grateful to be waiting forever to get to the clerks? Would the clerks view me as happy and thankful when I finally reach the front? (At that point, probably so….)

While I try very hard to keep a thankful attitude at all times, there are long stretches when my face doesn’t quite match my intentions. Maybe it’s because my face muscles are simply responding to the gravitational pull of older age…it’s harder to keep a bright smile going all the time! Still, I hope that more of my wrinkles will be laugh lines and not frown lines.

And no, we don’t always have to be perky, upbeat Christians at all times. There will always be periods of grief or discouragement that will be reflected in our faces. But these should be short-lived and countered with a resolution to seek God’s peace and praise Him in spite of our circumstances…His peace should be reflected in our faces as well.

I imagine that the primary reason for a not-so-thankful face is simple forgetfulness.

I forget how blessed I really am when I’m in the middle of a conflict. I forget how much God has given me when the sink gets stopped up or when traffic snarls into a long line of red lights ahead of me.

I forget that I’m alive and breathing when my back hurts or when someone else gets the glory. I fail to remember all the ways God has kept me going and watched over me through the years. I neglect to remember His enduring faithfulness, love, and blessings.

So, I think one of the easiest ways to cultivate a thankful face is to make it a daily routine.

Put “thankfulness” on your to-do list. Write and post a thankful note to God in your kitchen…not just once where you’ll forget it again but on a new note every day.

Tie a ribbon to your steering wheel. Enter an alarm on your phone that reminds you to stop what you’re doing and thank God for everything going on at the moment.

When you’re out and about, look at the people around you—would they see a thankful spirit in you? If not, make a point of giving each person a warm greeting, even strangers.

Let your face—your countenance, your expression—be an outward and visible sign for others to see that you are truly thankful to God. It starts by cultivating a constant prayer of praise and honor to Him so that your smile will flow naturally out of a grateful heart.

Everyone loves to see a genuine, heartfelt, happy, thankful smile. And if they ask, tell others the source of your joy is thankfulness to God!

Thank you, O gracious and generous God, for all of Your many blessings to us over the years. Thank You for life and the promise of salvation in heaven through Jesus Christ. Thank You for the gifts of Your Holy Spirit that we can receive daily in abundance. Thank You for Your forgiveness when we are forgetful, faithless, and fickle! Give us new hearts that pour out our praise to You in constant thankfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Here’s the official VeggieTales website: https://www.veggietales.com/madame-blueberry-veggietales-dvd.html

 

 

 

 

 

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