How to be thankful when you don't feel like it

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! The holidays are here in full force. It’s finally getting colder outside, my husband and I have made our holiday travel plans, we’re debating how many Christmas lights to hang outside, and I just bought my Thanksgiving turkey online (don’t tell anyone).

Maybe this past year has been one of exciting adventures, positive changes, deep friendships and meaningful work for you. Or maybe this year has been mediocre, disappointing or even painful. Whether you enter this holiday season with joy or you barely made it, it can be hard to feel thankful.

Feelings. Isn’t it annoying how much power they have. I can be going along with my day, feeling great and then all of a sudden I get a feeling and my whole day is thrown off course. Maybe that feeling is anxiety or disappointment or hurt but it sure can steal my joy.  

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week how can you be thankful even if you don’t feel like it?

One thing that helps me is to focus on the character of God. It is unchanging and unfailing and always worth celebrating even on the darkest of days. Psalm 103 gives me some helpful handrails and is a springboard into prayer. As I went through it again today, here are some takeaways from the psalm that caused my thankfulness levels to rise.

He forgives all my iniquity

God, thank you that you have forgiven me of my sin. That you have made a way for me to be made clean. Thank you that my sin no longer separates me from you.

He crowns me with steadfast love and mercy

Thank you that you are full of love and mercy, that what you want me to receive from you is love and mercy. Thank you that your love never fails and is constant. Thank you that your mercies are new for me today.

Like a father shows compassion to his children He shows compassion to those who fear him

Thank you that I don’t have to be perfect and that you look on my weaknesses with compassion. Thank you that you care deeply and you are kind. Thank you for being the perfect Father.

He has established his throne in the heavens and his kingdom rules over all

Thank you that you are in charge and that you are a righteous king. Thank you that you sit upon a throne, confident in your own leadership. Thank you that I get to be a part of your kingdom and be ruled by a good king.

As you focus on the character of God this season, I hope that you find a comforting and consistent place to rest your weary holiday head. I hope that in the midst of the craziness your heart will be thankful and secure in who He is and all that He has already done for you.



Savannah Reynolds