Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the LifeZette, and written by Ryan Day.
Do you have a special Thanksgiving tradition?
Most Americans do, and they'll be enjoying them again soon on Thanksgiving and through the holiday weekend.
Some families like to stoke up their appetites by enjoying a friendly game of football before sitting down to the big feast.
Others like to get to bed early on Thanksgiving night, excited about rising early for the best Black Friday deals.
For the past few years, I've enjoyed partnering with my father-in-law on Thanksgiving Day as he smokes an enormous turkey over charcoal and seasoned wood chips. Of course, my favorite tradition is when our family gathers around the table and we unite our hands and hearts in thankful prayer.
Scripture says that we should be "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything" (Ephesians 5:20).
From cover to cover, the Bible teaches that true Thanksgiving isn't a sentimental feeling - but a genuine expression of gratitude to God for all the various ways He blesses our lives.
Do you want your Thanksgiving celebration to come alive this year?
Are you hungry for more than just empty expressions?
Thank God for these four blessings in your life:
1.) Count your physical blessings.
Look back over the last calendar year and take stock of the countless physical blessings that God has showered on you.
By His kindness, He has granted you another year of life, health, and strength.
The average person breathes in and out more than 23,000 times each day - every breath is a gift of God's amazing grace.
When you see how God has richly blessed you with stamina, intelligence, skills, and talents, you'll have numerous reasons to thank Him.
2.) Count your material blessings.
Experts tell us that regardless of economic status, Americans are still the most financially blessed people on the planet.
Unlike in some nations, the majority of our citizens enjoy vast material blessings, things like cars, clothes, and computers. Most of us sleep in warm beds, wear decent clothes, eat healthy meals, and ride in relaxing vehicles.
Even now, you're reading this article on an electronic device. What tremendous blessings these are. Scripture reminds us that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father" (James 1:17)
3.) Count your social blessings.
This Thanksgiving, return praise to God for the good people He has brought into your circle.
Just think how your life has been made better by a spouse, children, grandchildren, good friends, loving parents, happy co-workers, or a church family.
Look around and you'll discover that you're never truly alone. Enriching relationships are part of God's design - so give Him the glory.
4.) Count your spiritual blessings.
It's not difficult to spot the blessings of family or friends - because they're typically right in front of us. But Scripture says we should also give thanks to God, "who has blessed us ... with every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3)
When we open our hearts to Jesus by faith, the Bible says we receive priceless spiritual blessings: the full forgiveness of our sins, a restored relationship with God, the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).
Do you enjoy reading the Bible?
Do you benefit from times of prayer?
Do you appreciate your local church?
These spiritual blessings should stir your heart to thanksgiving.
Whatever your favorite Thanksgiving tradition, this year and always, don't forget to return thanks to the gracious God who has blessed you in so many ways.
This Thanksgiving, don't just feel thankful.
Bow your head in prayer - and count your blessings.
Pastor Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.