“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (ESV)
“When joy and prayer are married, their first born child is gratitude.” Charles Spurgeon
- Take some time out of your busy preparations for the holidays to sit down with the Lord for a time of thanksgiving and prayer. Read through Philippians 4:4-8 and meditate on God’s promises to you and also on what He asks you to do. He promises you peace!
In Everything Give Thanks!
I love the fall! The crispness in the air, the falling leaves, and the pumpkins arriving in stores all leave me in excited anticipation for the entire holiday season! I enjoy the simplicity of the good food and fellowship that Thanksgiving brings. But in all of this, there are a lot of expectations that can leave a Mama feeling tired, overwhelmed, and even anxious. That is why I love our verse for today! It says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Do not be anxious about anything? Does that feel impossible to you? Without the fullness of Christ in you, it is impossible. But as Matthew 19:26 says,”with God all things are possible.” This verse does not simply tell you not to be anxious. Instead of stewing in anxiety, it tells you to pray with thanksgiving about every situation. Are you facing seemingly impossible situations with family coming into town, or are you struggling financially and anxiously wondering how you are going to make the holidays special this year? Remember to focus on thanking the Lord for the blessings of family and the things that you do have. Ask Him to help you with those things that are causing anxiety. He will give you a new perspective! If you can’t find any thanksgiving in your heart, ask Him for that too! He will answer you! When you are feeling anxious, pray with thanksgiving!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Giving thanks in all circumstances is another seemingly impossible task without God. But this verse says that it is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus! In Christ, we can face all of the holiday preparations and life expectations with thanksgiving. But we can’t set Jesus aside. We need to take time to sit quietly at Jesus’ feet both in solitude and in the middle of our tasks to focus on Him and seek Him for strength and for a thankful heart. Jesus told Martha when she was getting flustered and upset about all that she had to get done, “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42). Your heart can be in a place of rest and gratitude as you fill up with His love and care for you. Then you can go forth in thanksgiving, doing all that is required of you!
That heart of thankfulness will come as you pray without ceasing. Pray over your preparations. Pray while you bake and cook and clean for the upcoming festivities. Put Jesus at the central focus of all that you are doing, and you will find peace. But also make sure that you are not taking on more than is required of you. Seek the Lord for what He wants you to do. Let go of any traditions and expectations that are stealing your joy. And as you practice more constant prayer and thanksgiving, Philippians 4:7 (ESV) promises that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
My prayer for you this Thanksgiving and as you head into the holiday season comes from a quote by Charles Spurgeon, “Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened.”
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Are you taking on too much to make Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays “perfect” for everyone? Do not keep a tradition for tradition’s sake. If it is becoming burdensome, it is alright to let some traditions go and maybe make a few new, simpler ones! As Proverbs 17:1 (NLT) says, “Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.”
- How can you “sit at Jesus’ feet” as you make preparations? What can you do to remind yourself to pray without ceasing and to not be anxious about anything but instead pray, with thankfulness in your heart?
Start a Thanksgiving basket on your dining table: have your family write down things that they are thankful for and put these into the basket. Keep thankfulness at the center of your home!
Put these verses from Philippians somewhere in your kitchen to remind you what to do when anxiety begins to take over during all of your preparations or your time with family.