Thanksgiving is right around the corner--and to help everyone get ready for the big day, I decided to pull out this popular article from last year's holiday season. It's got 5 great ideas you can practice all year long!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite US holidays. It has a great history behind it (the pilgrims surviving their first winter and all). And it's certainly biblical to express gratitude for the blessings we enjoy. The focus on both food and family makes it a warm and festive time. And maybe best of all, it seems to have escaped the excessive commercialization that has affected most other holidays. Or at least it is postponed a day, until Black Friday!
But that's starting to change. Thanksgiving is beginning to lose its meaning, too. In fact, more often than not, I actually hear people refer to it as Turkey day--as if the holiday is more about food than gratitude!
To reverse this trend, I'd like to suggest 5 ways we can strengthen our ability to communicate appreciation. They are actually suggestions from an article by Gary Chapman. Gary Chapman, as you may recall, is the author of a book entitled, "The Five Love Languages". In his article, he suggests each of these love languages represents a different way to express gratitude. The more skilled we are at communicating in each of these languages, the more effectively we will be able to show thankfulness.
Here are his languages:
1. Words of Affirmation
Look for ways to express gratitude through words of affirmation. Expand this concept to include emails, text messages and handwritten letters or cards. Sincere, timely words are golden!
2. Giving Gifts
For many, a gift speaks more deeply than words. The gift is an ongoing reminder that they are loved and appreciated. Try to come up with small, thoughtful gifts for some of the people in your life.
3. Acts of Service
Doing something for a friend is another love language. Simply identify things you can do, and people who need help in that area. Then connect the two as a way to say thank you!
4. Undivided Attention
Everyone is busy. That is why investing quality time with someone you care for speaks volumes, because they feel valued and appreciated. Who could you spend time with today?
5. Physical Touch
Appropriate touches communicate care and affection. That touch can include a pat on the back, a high five, fist bump, or a friendly hug. For many, touch is an affirmation of value.
According to Chapman, "Every person in your life has a dominant gratitude language" and we all tend to speak our own language to others. But learning to speak the languages most meaningful to others can help us improve our relationships at home, at work, and at church.
Are you familiar with these love languages? Which speaks most powerfully to you? Have you experimented with showing other kinds of love to those around you? In what language do you see the love of God most clearly?
Can you help by sharing this article with a friend? Use this link: http://fast.st/244/
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/23/19
Thank you Rebecca for your kind words! So much appreciated. And yes, God is working in many places all around the world. Exciting times to be alive. Let's keep pressing forward...
Posted by Rebecca Gottfried on 11/22/19
I have so many things to be thankful for... One of them is FAST missions. I haven't been on in awhile, but I am so glad for this opportunity to hear the praise reports and get encouragement from like minded church family. God is working mightily on behalf of His children, and it behooves us to lift our hearts to Him. Have an awesome Thanksgiving everyone. I'll try to not use "Turkey Day" as much ;)
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/19/19
That's a great way to affirm our loved ones Carole! Try experimenting with some of the other approaches and see what happens...
It definitely helps to understand our love languages, and those of the important people in our life Nicole. Thanks for the testimony of how discovering these impacted your life! :)
Posted by Nicole Wall on 11/19/19
I am familiar with the five love languages. My personal love language is physical. I enjoy giving and receiving hugs. My husband is acts of service. Once I realized that about him it made me realize all the little things he did for me were his way of saying he loved me.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 11/18/19
I like to send short messages by email to my adult children. I want them to know I am thinking about them and praying for them. We can't overdo that. I need to tell them, what I admire about them, as I would a friend. Thank you for this message.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/23/18
Hi Michael, I think you make a great point that both men and women need expressions of gratitude and appreciation. It is a priceless gem to both give and receive affirmation, isn't it!
And yes, I think you are right Miriam. One of our problems is we are too busy to take the time to express thankfulness to the loved ones in our life. I like your use of the word "excitement". It can be a discovery process, can't it?
Posted by Miriam Andres on 11/23/18
Thanks for this timely message which helps us to see ourselves in terms of being thankful. Otentimes we rush so much that we aren't able to express thankfulness to our families, friends and others. Through the 5 ways suggested, may we find excitement in discovering different ways of expressing our thankfulness to people around us, much more to our God!!
Posted by Michael Polski on 11/23/18
From childhood, we are taught to be analytical; especially in school - "there are 3 apples and 1 orange - which one does not match?" I see our culture far lacking in AFFIRMATION. I also see throughout our culture, a teaching that men should shower women with praise and affirmation, but not vice versa - If only women could realize what a dynamite dynamic and priceless gem is the concept of affirmation!
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/21/18
Sounds like a blessing all the way around Robert Baillie! :)
Posted by Robert Baillie on 11/21/18
And when we share the Love that God wants us to share with others He in turn blesses us insure with Love likewise and our memories gain wisdom in that we tend to be able to remember Bible texts easier and our Love for the Saviour grows more the more that we share His LOVE with others!! And this is the HOPE.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/20/18
Great point Ellen! So true. Have you noticed how the most thankful people seem to have good things constantly happening to them? Unfortunately the opposite also seems true.
Thank you, Dan, for these thoughts. So important! One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that when we practice showing love and encouragement to others, great amounts of joy get splashed on us in the process! It then becomes a never-ending cycle of encouragement for ourselves when we reach out to others! This translates into more reasons to be thankful - a win-win situation!
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/20/18
You are very welcome Nelia. And a nice thought about God being the source of all good...
Glad you enjoyed this Carole. So many things to be thankful for, and so many ways to show thankfulness, amen?
Many have told me that book has been helpful Phillippa. Glad it was a blessing to you. I like how well it applies to giving thanks. :)
Erica, why don't you send me a note about it on the Help Hotline. I'll be happy to look into it. The consistency score only goes up when you do the normal Daily Review in the Engine. It may be you are doing your review a different way or something. I'll be happy to figure it out with you. :)
And, yes I suspect God has many more love languages than just these 5!
Posted by Nelia on 11/19/18
Thank you so much for such a beautiful article on Thanksgiving.Its really an important part of life to bring back the glory and honor to the giver of all good gifts.
For me, when someone says something to me, which is encouraging, it does wonders for me.
I believe we all need this, and we all need to extend this to others.
It seems like writing a letter, sending a card, is not as popular. I feel its a wonderful way of helping people feel loved. Sometimes, technology can not be as personal, as a letter, or a note in a card.
Thank-you for this message.
We have so much to be thankful for. My list is long. My God is faithful to us all.
Happy Thanksgiving all.
Posted by Phillippa Turner on 11/19/18
I have read this book many years ago. This was a favorite gift 💝 for my married friends. I can still appreciate this masterpiece.. I appreciate all but number four “ Unduvided Attention “ stands out. This speaks volumes for me.
Posted by Erica Cameron on 11/19/18
Hi Dan, yes I have read Gary Chapman's book on the five love languages. I found it very helpful and that it has enriched my marriage. I realise that God uses all five languages and probably more! By the way I had a report that said my consistency is only 1%. I think that's unfair, as
I have done all I have been asked to do everyday. Perhaps it's because I do them at a different time as I live in the UK. Erica
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/19/18
I really appreciate your point Lynn about how using different methods allows us to touch different lives in different ways. I really think we should make an intentional effort to develop our caring skills. Opens up many doors for ministry. :)
Thank you for sharing this. I find all of these so important. With each way of affirmation I find I'm able to touch lives in different ways and different areas. Listening in love to all that is being said not starting to plan your response before they finish speaking is important too--otherwise we miss out on the important things they are sharing. Listening with your whole self.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
PS. Just saw your last post Sue. What a great quote. I think it makes a vital point about prayer. I'm thankful for our awesome community! :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/19/18
Love your post Sue! Good suggestion about a praise journal, and love your word: thanks-living. :)
And there's a lot in your post also Qing. That's a topic worth fleshing out more.
Great quotes Del Jeanne! (To tag someone tap their picture). I fixed up your tag for you.
And thanks for your comment Valerie. Oftentimes the simplest acts are the most powerful, perhaps because they are the most profound. Happy Thanksgiving, or living, to you too! :)
Posted by Sue Gilmore on 11/19/18
Here's one gem that I treasure. When I was in college, I took a course called "Introduction to the Testimonies." This one changed my life! It was my first lesson in Thanks-Living:
"Shall all our devotional exercises consist in asking and receiving? Shall we be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive? Shall we be recipients of His mercies and never express our gratitude to God, never praise Him for what He has done for us? We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. If the loving-kindness of God called forth more thanksgiving and praise, we would have far more power in prayer. We would abound more and more in the love of God and have more bestowed to praise Him for" (5T 317).
I am so very thankful for the Spirit of Prophecy and for FAST!
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 11/19/18
[[~@Slg2156]], I love the idea of Thanks-living! I practice gratitude in my life because we receive so much from our loving, heavenly Father through Christ that I have to keep saying thank You LORD!!
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 11/19/18
This has a lovely sentiment Dan Vis. The suggestions are simple yet their effects can be long lasting and meaningful to the receiver. In this fast-paced society where technology has replaced human relationships, diong acts of kindness, self-less acts of kindness for each other gives us a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
Posted by Del Jeanne Mathews on 11/19/18
Sue, Yes! I delivered a sermon on "Thanksliving" a few years ago, which I shortened/adapted to present in Sabbath School this past Sabbath. Gratitude should be a way of life for us - gratitude to our heavenly Father, and to the people in our lives. When our 3 sons were small, the days we took time to help each of them come up with a thankful list during morning worship were the days that went more smoothly for all of us - fewer disagreements between brothers, and generally happier attitudes all day long. I also like to make thankful lists in my morning devotional journal. There is a reason we've been counselled to "keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies that God has shown us . . . " SC 125
And I really like this statement: ". . . if you watch for blessings and expect to have them, if you realize and prize the least favor of God, and talk of it and dwell upon it with gratitude, you will see something to cheer you and make you grateful and happy every day and every hour." Ms 3, 1863.6
Posted by Qing Ling on 11/19/18
Sue thanks-LIVING. YES. high five sister:) I'm going to use that. Powerful testimony about thanksliving .
I believe in Thanks-Living...a lifestyle of expressing gratefulness. I like to begin my Quiet Time with Jesus by writing in my Praise Journal. I thank Jesus for 2-3 new blessings from the day before and from my devotional reading and study that morning. Expressing gratefulness to God helps me to grow in love, making me more aware of His presence in my life, and you might say His "presents" too. His blessings are new every morning. As Ezekiel says, "Great is Your faithfulness!" (Lamentations 3:23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.) It is also a great antidote for vibrant health--warding off negative thinking, feelings of sadness and depression. Dr. Neal Nedley recommends a gratefulness journal to his patients who are dealing with anxiety and depression. I used to suffer from depression. It was the best thing I did in recovering my health. That was about 10 years ago. I still love to start my day in praise to Jesus!
Posted by Abraham Philemon on 11/29/17
I am happy for this. I really agree on that
Posted by David Jeffrey Grabe on 11/20/17
Greetings, everyone, in the Blessed Name of Our Saviour & Lord!
Thank you, Pastor Dan, for the insights on "How to show thankfulness! The Affirmation & Acts of Service points ring true for me. I read Gary Chapman's wonderful book many years ago & was greatly blessed by it. It would be well for us all to follow its recommendations. Everyone have a truly blessed Thanksgiving experience as we reflect on the myriad ways the Lord has blessed us all!
I remember my older sister saying that a letter written is actually a gift, because of the time taken to write it. She was right! It is the gift of time and effort.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 11/18/17
Lovely words, Shennel. I appreciate FAST too, for the support, friendship and companionship I have experienced here in this past year. :-) FAST has been a great encouragement to me.
It is true, as you say, that we are indebted to our Saviour for His great gift, and all the other gifts, such as the Sabbath, that follow in the train of our salvation gift. :-)
Posted by Shennel Ross-Ottley on 11/17/17
What an opportunity to reflect on God's lovingkindness, faithfulness and Goodness!
I'm so thankful to God for spending quality time with me especially when i'm down and out. I also believe that He extends Words of affirmation because everytime I memorize a text it speaks volumes of His love. Thinking even deeper, that sacrifice on the cross, is the greatest act of service. What about the gift of salvation and the gift of the Sabbath, I'm not deserving of any but God's love for me is so much. God even cuddles me at times. If I should choose the one I think he uses the most, it would be words of Affirmation. I only recieves these words when I send quality time with Him.
Thank you Fast for your support, love, spiritual food and uplifting words you gave this year.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/17/17
It is interesting how different expressions of love connect with different people. :) The trick is remembering that others are not like us. And that what speaks to us may not speak as clearly to others.
The more we can learn to communicate with others in ways that speak to them, the more effective we will be!
Posted by Valerie Smit on 11/17/17
For me, the most powerful language is touch, because it is what I have been deprived of all my life. For the first 6 weeks of my life I was kept in isolation in a darkened room in hospital, & my family never showed physical warmth as I was growing up.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 11/15/17
When I listen to another, I am reminding them, that what they say matters.
I need to do more of this. Besides, I just may learn something from them, I needed to know, myself
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 11/15/17
Patricia, thank you for the quote from PK. There is so much suffering so any act of kindness that we can do for one another is a blessing. Dan, I read The Five Love Languages many years ago and found it helpful to my husband and I. I like how you used it to help us to look for ways to be both grateful and to share gratitude. Carole,you are so right about being a better listener and its benefits. I ask God to give me a hearing heart because when people know that they are heard, they receive healing.It is the best way to show love.
Posted by Patricia Jones on 11/13/17
Reminds me of the quote in PK 327: "We should lose no opportunity of performing deeds of mercy, of tender forethought and Christian courtesy, for the burdened and the oppressed. If we can do no more, we may speak words of courage and hope to those who are unacquainted with God, and who can be approached most easily by the avenue of sympathy and love." There are so many gems in the Bible and her writings.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/13/17
You are so right Carole, Sharon, so many good ways to show gratitude towards others. They may be small things sometimes, but they can make a huge difference!
Posted by Sharon Hamilton on 11/13/17
Hi Dan, I read your new post and I agreed on most of what you said.
I love the erea based on Word Affirmations, as it relates to God and His written words to me. When I need comfort and strength I turn to His Faithful Promises, I am so thankful I can't oexplain. I also feel good when I can share them with others. He tells me that I am His and He is mine, He calls me His Beloved and so much more.
So it is when we can tell others good words of upliftment to boost their spirits up, let people know their is hope when life looks grim. Tell them good try and tap them up.
I think God's Heart always move in a Big Way when we Make Others Happy.
Thanks again Van, keep up the good work in Jesus name.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 11/13/17
In this day and age, taking the time to call someone, write a note, send a card, can make a difference. Being a better listener, is so needed by us, also.
It doesn't take much, but, it can make a difference to someone, in need.
We all have so much to be thankful for.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/13/17
That's the first place I go anytime I'm around used books for sale! :) Good suggestion Konni! And don't forget Amazon. Great deals on used books...
Posted by Konni Plue on 11/13/17
This gem of a book can be found in used book stores for pennies as well as new.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/13/17
Thanks for the encouragement for our community to read the actual book. I hope lot's of people take you up on that! Also your analysis of your own personal wiring is quite interesting! Thank you for sharing Qing.
Posted by Qing Ling on 11/13/17
I had heard about the 5 love languages for many years, but only this year read the actual book by Gary Chapman. Shame I hadn't read it earlier! It's one thing to get the information concisely in a dot point list, as I have through the years from other sources referencing Chapman's work - but truly reading his actual book in its entirety really drummed the message home!
I think I am more a gifts person - it's funny I was just talking to a friend recently about this, and explained that even though I like to do acts of service for others, I actually feel bad when someone else does it for me, because I feel I have troubled them.
I see the love of God most clearly through quality time...nothing is better than just having 1:1, heart 2 heart time with my loving Creator - and probably gifts is a big part of it, because I sense His Presence really strongly when He gifts me moments of His Divine Interventions in my life.
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