I think we often confuse thankfulness with contentment. Thanksgiving isn’t a solo action. You aren’t actually giving thanks unless you’re giving it to someone, unless there’s a recipient of your gratitude. Otherwise, your thanks is just a meaningless word whispered into the void of the universe. I think we miss the beauty of thankfulness when we focus more on what we’re thankful for instead of who we’re thankful to.

That’s my challenge this Thanksgiving. To myself and to you. Spouting off a list of blessings (or humblebrags) can be good to remind us that we should be thankful and what we have to be thankful for, but that’s just half of it. That’s realizing how much you enjoy a gift, but never sending the Thank You note to the person who gave it. It’s time to follow through with our thanks.

And if you’re cynical about Thanksgiving and its commercialization or lack of true substance, just stop. Realize you have the power to make it mean something more for you and for the people in your life. More than parades, food, football, and dog shows.

Instead of being full of thanks, let’s overflow with it and leave the being full to our stomachs (not a good idea to let them overflow). At its essence, giving thanks is the overflow of grace in our lives.

To be honest, I have a lot of people to be thankful to this year. Old and new friends and family alike. People who have given me a chance, who have shared their homes and food and lives with me, who have given me opportunities to do things I was only dreaming of last year, who have seen more in me than I saw in myself, who have put up with my quirks and flaws and failures time and time again. But, while this is predictable and not exactly edgy, there is one above all others that I am thankful to and for this year:

Jesus. Savior. King. Mediator. Redeemer. Lord. Friend. Guide. Rescuer. Hope. And so much more.

Every year, every week, every day, I  fail to let my thanks overflow to Him as it should. But not today. Today I say, “Thank you.” Tomorrow, I prove the sincerity of those words with how I live my life.