Thanksgiving: The Pathway to Joy

Have you finished with the grocery shopping? Have your recipes ready? Are you hosting a large crowd tomorrow?

Or maybe you’re one who is struggling with this whole Thanksgiving season and you’re a long ways from wanting to give thanks. Perhaps this day signifies a painful moment of loss, or maybe your house is empty now and your days are spent in loneliness. Maybe this season brings a fresh reminder of an empty spot at your table. Are you isolated from family and friends and dreading the holiday season?

Do you want to know the pathway to joy?

When the world is dark outside, and your heart feels dark as well, the Psalms invite you to experience the joy that the “Heart-changer” can bring. On days when I’m struggling to reach gratitude and I pull out a Psalm to pray through, I sound like a complainer at first, but then, graciously the Spirit begins stirring, using His Word to speak boldly to my heart and thankfully—supernatural change begins.

It’s pretty amazing how that happens.

God is truly THE gracious heart-changer.

If you’re struggling to reach gratitude today, I encourage you to join me in Psalm 86 to hear David’s cry:

[box]Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy . . .

O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.

Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to You I cry all day long.

Make glad the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 86:1–4)[/box]

While I pour out my complaint, the Spirit is at work. He begins reminding me of the Father’s goodness. He takes me to past events and allows me to revisit His amazing providential care.

Can you list some of the ways you’ve seen Him work, even through the painful events of your life?

Can you recount works of redemption that you can verbalize as thanksgiving gifts to your Savior?

Can you look around and see blessings in abundance that maybe you’ve taken for granted?

The heart turning comes slowly at first, but then He leads us through the doorway to joy:

[box]I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.

For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (vv. 12–13)[/box]

Thanksgiving truly is the doorway to joy.

When I turn away from what looks painful and confusing to me, and begin recounting all the ways He’s demonstrated true love to me . . . my heart begins to grow warm again and joy picks up the beat. The day is filled with possibility and hope returns.

He graciously provides the clear instruction that allows the heart-change to happen:

[box]“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)[/box]

Join me in giving thanks today?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at



  • Raxhe'l Campbell

    Giving thanks to our Heavenly Father today for the truths He is teaching me through your humble servant’s heart 🙏🏻❤️

  • Kathryn

    Thank you so much Kim. I needed to be reminded of this today. I cheerful heart…a thankful heart…..a heard of gratitude is a heart touched by the Holy Spirit. May you and your family have a peaceful, grace-filled Thanksgiving.