Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
November 1st begins one of my favorite annual traditions. Since the Littles were very little (as opposed to their current moderately little status) we have kept the tradition of a Thankful Journal. Each day, the Littles are invited to draw a picture or write a few words about something for which they are thankful. On Thanksgiving Day we read the journal aloud and talk about the abundance of ways we are able to thank God.
It was hard at first not to edit, but I don’t. So over the years I’ve seen plenty of gratitude for Legos, Jolly Ranchers, and Santa Claus. But, hey — I’m grateful for the coffee maker, so I can’t really judge. Overall they understand true thankfulness and I cherish watching their journal entries mature as they do. When we began our Thankful Journal tradition five years ago, I had no idea I was laying the foundation for the discipline of keeping a prayer journal. I love how the Lord has enriched our prayer lives with the simple Thanksgiving tradition of our journal!
As for the journal, form isn’t nearly as important as function. I use a three-ring binder. I punch holes in plain white paper and leave a stack loose in a basket filled with crayons and markers on the kitchen table. But, a spiral notebook would work well too. As with all good ideas, I did not come up with the Thankful Journal on my own. I wish I could give credit, but I do not remember the source. Let me know if you keep a Thankful Journal. I’d love to know how it works for your family, things you are thankful for, and any tips you might add.