Snoopy from Charlie Brown fame was sitting in his doghouse grumbling to himself on Thanksgiving Day. Everyone else in the house was eating mashed potatoes, turkey filling and other scrumptious food while he was stuck with his dog biscuits. Then he got a revelation that changed his attitude. He said, “Come to think of it, I am thankful that I was not born a turkey!”

Like Snoopy, I have learned a few things about giving thanks.

Being thankful is a decision: We do not give thanks because we feel like it; we choose to give thanks because it is the correct thing to do. The Bible tells us to be thankful (Colossians 3:15)

We give thanks because God is always good. No matter what we are going through in our lives, God is still good. And it could always be much worse! If we grumble instead of giving thanks, we are really saying, “If I were God, I would not do it this way.” Remember, He is God and we are not!

Giving thanks is the most effective way to find God’s will for our lives. The Bible tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances, this is the will of God in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Ungrateful people find it hard to accept God’s will and purposes in their lives.

Giving thanks opens the door for God to show up in our lives. Before Jesus and his disciples saw the miracle of the 5,000 being fed, Jesus gave thanks for the few loaves and fish he had. The result? Fish sandwiches for 5,000 and twelve basketfuls left over!

Giving thanks positions us to more quickly recognize the voice of God when he speaks to us. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were holding a conversation with Jesus but only recognized Him as Jesus after He thanked the Heavenly Father for the food before them.

A revelation on the power of thankfulness happened to me during my first trip to Rwanda. I visited a few years after the genocide of a half million people who had been slaughtered by their countrymen. I was amazed by what I saw among those who had lost loved ones. They chose to give thanks in the midst of their grief. Some of the survivors even visited the local prison to tell those who had killed their family members about Christ. Despite great pain, the survivors’ decisions to choose forgiveness and thankfulness changed the nation of Rwanda.

Thankfulness will change our lives too. And for our American friends, have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!