I was reading through Philippians and I was reminded of something; Paul is all about teaching, he speaks a lot about learning, encouraging those he was writing to that they need to pay attention to what they have learned from him and what he himself has learned as a follower of Christ. It made me think, this practice of thanksgiving is something that we need to learn so then we can teach.
A lineage of Thanksgiving, this is what I want to pass on to my children so that they too will pass it on and so forth and it will become part of who we are, thankful people giving praise and celebrating how we are blessed. Living a life, a full life of praise. Passing on the art of thankfulness, of blessing others through the simple act of saying “thank you”.
Paul says in Philippians 4:8 “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you have learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of Peace will be with you”. Under that scripture in my bible I have written “The Joy Filled Life”! That says something doesn’t it.
This is the key to living the fuller life, a life full of joy and thanksgiving and it’s right there in black and white for me to learn, live by and pass on to my children – this lineage of thankfulness, how are they to know how to give thanks if they don’t see me giving thanks?
“Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it”. Proverbs 22:6
This is part of the right path, the path I want for them and more importantly that God has for them, if I teach them to look for and see the gifts that God is blessing them with, in all things and to give thanks in all things for them, for us it becomes a way of living, how we do life. And won’t they then be looking for things to give thanks for, they will look for the blessings because they know they are there, somewhere in the good and the hard – all of it, gifts worth searching for and counting and giving thanks for and sharing what they have found. And this, this is how the lineage of Thanksgiving begins, teaching our children how to give thanks.
We started this, all of us, years ago before they could speak it themselves, saying the words thank you when they couldn’t yet. I think about how over the years we have counted the ways He loves us and has blessed us. Papers and pens at the dinner table writing things we are thankful for and sharing them. Thank you notes to those that have touched and changed our lives by their simple acts of kindness and love, being a blessing to those that needed blessing, giving when we didn’t feel we had anything to give and letting go and through tears giving thanks for the time we had. Really we are simply walking through life with our eyes open, ready to see what God is doing and being thankful that He has opened our eyes to these moments worthy of thanks.
Chesterton said “The greatest of poems is an inventory”. Here’s to raising a generation of poets.