Day 15 - Thanksgiving

From Randy Maxwell, vice president for administration

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thess. 5:16-18

A few years ago, some friends of ours went on a 60-day juice fast — one of those liquid cleanse and energy diets where you combine every fruit and vegetable known to man in a blender and drink it down twice a day.


I asked them why they didn’t wait until after the holidays to start this, but they said that was the point—that how you celebrate Thanksgiving was a choice, and this was theirs.

Before leaving on a quick business trip the wife wrote me: “We are still hanging in there with our juicing and losing slowly but feeling just isn't fun.”

Most diets aren’t. But I’d like to introduce one that is. It’s called: The Thanksgiving Diet.


And it has nothing to do with juicing or cutting back on the 709 million lbs. of cranberries; the 1.8 billion lbs. sweet potatoes; or the 1.1 billion lbs pumpkins; the 800,000 tons of green beans, or reducing the typical caloric intake of 5-6,000 calories most Americans will consume on the holiday. (Though it’s your choice to do so!)

No, the Thanksgiving Diet I’m proposing isn’t about food, but about laying aside every weight — the weight of depression, the weight of anxiety, and the weight of fear — through the sacrifice of praise.

Giving thanks is how we wait on the Lord.


We don’t wait on circumstances to change before giving thanks, we wait on the Lord by giving thanks now and He changes us. Don’t wait on circumstances; wait on the Lord.

The same David who couldn’t stop crying and who was tired of having sorrow in his heart goes on to say just a few verses later:

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me

Psalm 13:5, 6

David was a Thanksgiving dieter, and knew how to lay aside the weight of misery. And if you and I are going to successfully run the race of life, then, we too, must lay aside every weight through the sacrifice of praise.

I challenge you to join me in adopting the Thanksgiving diet.


But there is some exercise. Don’t worry, it’s as easy as sitting down in a chair. (Ed. Note: yes, the quiet chair returns again!)

For the next 7 days, designate a chair in your home, the “Thanksgiving Chair.”


At least once a day, sit in that chair for a minute or two, and for as long as you choose to sit there, think of something to be thankful for. That chair is your misery “time out.” It is your space and time to give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to you. If your kids are yelling, you tell them “I’m in the chair.”

Let’s see how the Thanksgiving diet and taking time in the thanksgiving chair makes a difference. Remember, it is our choice how we approach thanksgiving. Remember, be joyful always. Pray continually; and give thanks in everything…now!


Activity Prompt

Your family has three activity options associated with the Thanksgiving Chair! Google for even more gratitude activity options!

  1. Make a gratitude paper chain, one loop per day between now and Thanksgiving
  2. Write letters of gratitude to your pastor and community leaders
  3. Study and memorize Bible verses about gratitude. Good places to start include 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Colossians 3:15-20, and James 1:17

Prayer Prompt

Lord, we desire to live with gratitude, to have Your perspective no matter what's happen in our lives. Help us, Lord, to dwell in Your sweet presence, to be joyful always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in everything. Keep growing us in You, dear Jesus. We love You with our whole hearts. Amen.