When You’re Too Tired to Give Thanks on Thanksgiving

Kara-Kae James • 3 minutes

I’m too tired to give thanks—even on Thanksgiving—this year, I found myself thinking as I was filling out our family calendar for the end of the year. Thanksgiving is upon us (wasn’t it just summer?) and I’m not feeling very thankful. The holiday season can leave us feeling more worn out than anything, and I’m so very tired. I would much rather take a nap than think about mashed potatoes and place settings.

This time of year can become a bit much, overwhelmed by schedules and frustrated by unmet expectations. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, my oldest had a school play, I had a work trip, we squeezed in a chance to serve in the community, wrapped up soccer season, prepped for a swim meet—all while trying to bring the kids down from the lingering Halloween candy hangover. Like I said, a bit much.

So, how do I give thanks when I’m just too exhausted? I realized my bad attitude was rubbing off on my kids, and the last thing I want is for them to be ungrateful. I’ve discovered it’s about creating an atmosphere of thankfulness in our homes, even when—or especially when—we don’t feel like it. Because before we know it, we’ll be ringing in the new year and our “best intentions” will be thrown out with the wilting Christmas tree.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV says to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to give thanks no matter the circumstances. It’s usually easy to give thanks for the big things, but everything? That’s not quite as easy, but that’s also where we sink into this feeling of “I’m too tired to be thankful.”

We can find gratitude in the days that overwhelm us because we know we have a God who is our Prince of Peace.

Cultivating an atmosphere of thankfulness starts with choosing to give praise for the little things. It grows into a life overflowing with gratitude. We can be grateful for the way our child’s hair is perfectly messy in the morning. We can find gratitude in the days that overwhelm us because we know we have a God who is our Prince of Peace. Or when nothing in our world makes sense, and our circumstances are too painful to bear alone. We can praise Him when the car breaks down or the bills can’t be paid. We can give thanks in the good and the bad, because the God who gave us this life is worthy of praise no matter what it looks like. Thank God for the little things and watch as He transforms your heart!

Will you join me this holiday season with a renewed sense of thankfulness? I believe we can spread the gratitude bug because thankfulness truly is contagious. Once you’ve got it, you can’t help but notice the incredible blessings all around you! When we create an atmosphere of thankfulness, we will all wake up on Thanksgiving and be able to feel the thankfulness in the air!