Christ-Centered Holidays {part 1}

Every year, we talk about making Christmas more about Christ and less about stuff. But what about Thanksgiving?

Maybe Thanksgiving isn’t all about the stuff. Maybe we don’t decorate as much, shop as much, or buy as much as we do for Christmas.

But we can still lose our focus, can’t we?

We get ready for family get-togethers and forget to fill our hearts with kindness and our lips with grace. We bake and cook and prepare for big meals, but neglect our time drinking deeply from God’s Word.

We focus on football, family, food, and fun. But how much do we focus on Jesus Christ?

You know, thanksgiving wasn’t unique to the Pilgrims. It is actually a practice that began much earlier in history. We find exhortation to be thankful way back in the first century, in the words of Paul:

  • “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20
  • “…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
  • “Therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him … abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
  • “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

You see, thankfulness isn’t a fall decoration. It’s something that we as Christians should be putting on every single day. It’s something we should wear, like we wear the spiritual armor of God. Like Tiny Tim says in A Christmas Carol — we should celebrate Thanksgiving in our hearts whole year round!


A Christ-centered Thanksgiving celebration
starts in the heart. 
{<–tweet this!} 


It starts with the daily practice of giving thanks in all circumstances. It starts with living a life that abounds in thanksgiving, even during the mundane or the painful. It starts with being thankful one day at a time, and one prayer at a time.

It takes practice. And prayer. And persistence.

But once your own heart are consistently gratitude, that gratitude will overflow into your home and your family. Once you are becoming more thankful on a daily basis, the Thanksgiving season will just be an extension of that spirit of thankfulness.

And what would that accomplish? How would that foster a Christ-centered holiday season?

  • A holiday filled with thankfulness would increase peace and contentment — and diminish stress and frustration.
  • A holiday filled with thankfulness would increase kindness and compassion towards each other — and decrease arguments and critical spirits.
  • A holiday filled with thankfulness would increase peace and contentment — and decrease complaining, whining, and nagging.

A holiday filled with thankfulness would glorify and magnify Christ above all. It would please Him, because it would be the fruit of obedience to His commands. It would produce the fruits of love, kindness, peace, joy, and goodness. It would make itself known in loving others better than ourselves.

So instead of waiting until next week, when everyone is sitting around waiting for turkey and cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes — start being thankful today. Right now, even.

And keep practicing it, even while you prepare for the big meal and the family time and whatever else you do to celebrate Thanksgiving.

And don’t stop practicing it, even once Thanksgiving is over.


Make thankfulness a daily habit.


Come back tomorrow for part 2 — and a giveaway to help you stay Christ-centered during this season!


QUESTION for YOU: How do you practice thankfulness on a daily basis?


One way to increase our thankfulness is by seeing God’s work and character throughout time. Why not read about that with me this week?
Monday: 1 Chronicles 7-9
Tuesday: 1 Chronicles 10-13
Wednesday: 1 Chronicles 14-15, Luke 1
Thursday: 1 Chronicles 16-18
Friday: 1 Chronicles 19-21, Luke 2
Saturday: 1 Chronicles 22-24, Luke 3
Sunday: 1 Chronicles 25-27

Photo Credit



17 thoughts on “Christ-Centered Holidays {part 1}

  1. I was lead of the Lord to post about Thanksgiving

    1. Thanks for sharing! Will go check out your link.

  2. I agree. People are hanging Christmas lights on our street! Can’t wait to go to the Thanksgiving Day Parade on the waterfront in Plymouth!! AND I hate when people call it Turkey Day. sigh

    1. I miss that parade – especially the Mummer’s 🙂 Nobody around here has ever heard of them!

  3. I love Thanksgiving. This year will be difficult, but we are looking to invite friends that are unable to go to their homes over. We have so much to be thankful for and it is all from the Lord… Striving to make every day Thanksgiving day. 🙂 Great post, friend!

    1. Thanks friend! That’s wonderful that you guys are already reaching out to others – I know God will bless you abundantly for sharing His love.

  4. […] a 48-hr Giveaway!} Elizabeth Johnson | November 13, 2012 | No comments Yesterday we looked at celebrating a Christ-centered Thanksgiving. The same idea of thankfulness carries through to Christmas, as well. But Christmas also offers […]

  5. I have to be honest, I have not focused on Thanksgiving be Christ-centered in the past. I always get so caught up on where we’re going, who is going, etc. This year, I’m going to make a real effort to keep things Christ-centered. Thank you for the reminder!

    1. Me too!! Thanks Kelli!

  6. “Thankfulness isn’t a fall decoration.” Love this. I appreciate your heart for Christ. Thanks for this admonition to keep our focus on Christ this Thanksgiving.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christina!

  7. Elizabeth, I love that so many are making their thankful lists on facebook. It makes it such a nice place to visit! 🙂 It’s always a good reminder to give thanks!! It’s a wonder how it’s so easy to forget. Anyway, I love this post as its joy is contagious! Blessings, friend!

    1. Thanks! Hope you’re doing a little better… been praying for you!

  8. Love your post! I totally agree with you – we have so much to be thankful for. As Christians we should live everyday with “Thanksgiving!” May Christ be the center of this Holiday season as well as every ‘regular’ day of the year.
    Serving Him

    1. Yes, exactly! Thanks for stopping by, Ronda!

  9. Wonderful post, Elizabeth. Thanks for linking up! 🙂

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