If you have read Screens and Teens you know that cultivating gratitude is something I think we need to be consciously doing on a regular basis. Giving thanks cannot be something we do one day a year. Being thankful should be something we are.

What if we all determined to choose thankfulness between now and the end of the year and beyond? Yes, what if it truly becomes a habit that it’s a part of us? As I write on page 80, “Gratitude can be a built-in part of our identities. This is what allows us to be thankful “in all circumstances” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ).”

Rather than complaining about the entitlement easily observable throughout our culture and many people, let’s do what we can. We’re not responsible for everyone else. We can’t even change our own hearts, but Jesus can.

My hope for many people between now and Christmas is a change of heart. Is this relevant for you and/or your children? Would praying for God’s perspective be helpful? Would it help to pray for eyes to see what you have instead of what you don’t have? Would discussions and prayer about contentment be a good idea?

Truth can reign. We can model truth, talk about it, pray that it becomes believed, and more. We can ask God to show us the conversations to have with children to help shift their perspective.

What if these passages truly informed us during this season and beyond? Can you think of others to talk with your children about this season?

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:14-17

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Scripture is, of course, so important to being transformed more and more into the image of Christ. We can also take action. Waiting for the truths of Scripture to totally change hearts before stepping out in obedience isn’t necessary. Acting on truths can help especially children see the truths. They’ll believe the Scripture and continue to act on it.

For instance, what if we established something new during the upcoming Christmas season? What if, as we add new things to our home, we give away things from our home? This might happen the week after Christmas as toys, clothes, dishes, and more are put away where they belong. We can talk now about the expectation.

I know some families who collect things Thanksgiving week to give away to shelters and the like. This makes room in their homes for new things. And, more importantly organizations and struggling families looking for “gently used things” during December will benefit from what we give away.

We all have clothes we no longer wear, dishes we rarely use, toys that are no longer fun for our children, CDs we don’t listen to, DVDs we don’t watch, and more. Others can benefit. But, only if they’re not collecting dust in our homes.

When we and our children recognize how much we have that we don’t need, thankfulness should be easier. Contentment can reign. Let’s make this our story.