Rediscovering the Joy of Thanksgiving in Western Cultures as a Follower of Jesus

by Christine Sine

by Hilary Horn

In our fast-paced, consumer-driven world, Western cultures have inadvertently developed what can be termed as a “gratitude gap.” This gap represents the growing disconnect between our desires for more and our ability to appreciate what we already have. As we rush through life, constantly pursuing the next big thing, we often overlook the simple yet profound practice of gratitude. From a Christian perspective, this gap can be seen as a spiritual challenge, one that calls us to rediscover the joy and renewal of Thanksgiving in the light of our faith. Below are 5 things that I find most to be a detriment in discovering gratitude and joy in our Western mindsets.

The Consumer Culture Dilemma: From a Christian standpoint, the relentless pursuit of material wealth and personal gain can be at odds with the teachings of Christ. The Bible often warns against the love of money and the pursuit of worldly possessions. This constant craving for more can lead us away from gratitude for the blessings already bestowed upon us and distance us from the true source of joy.

The Digital Age Distraction: In the digital age, social media’s constant stream of images and stories can foster envy and discontentment, challenging our Christian values of contentment and thankfulness. It’s essential for Christians to remember that true fulfillment comes from a relationship with God, not from comparing our lives to others’ highlight reels on social media.

The Neglect of Christian Mindfulness: Christian mindfulness, rooted in the practice of prayer, meditation, and reflection, offers a way to reconnect with gratitude. By neglecting these practices, we miss opportunities to thank God for His grace, love, and the blessings Jesus gives us daily. Rediscovering Christian mindfulness can help bridge the gratitude gap and strengthen our faith.

A Hurried and Overbusy Culture: Rediscovering and dedicating time for prayer and reflection, expressing gratitude for the spiritual blessings in your life is essential. Often, we do not take space or time for this. Many of us feel overwhelmed, too busy or do not prioritize the right things we should be spending our time on. Trying to engage in acts of kindness and service, sharing your faith and gratitude with others, spreading the message of Christ’s love are all wonderful ways to rediscover the joy of Thanksgiving. Renewing our appreciation for God’s grace and fostering a more spiritually fulfilling existence is a way to embrace gratefulness.

Crippled with Mental Health Issues: Isolation and mental health issues have never been more rampant in the United States and in Western cultures. 3/5 people in the 2023 mental health crisis data said they were lonely. I have many people come who experience anxiety, depression and more! Many of these are valid in their stories or mental health journeys. However, a practice that can help is gratitude! Gratitude is powerful and can even help you overcome things like depression, anxiety, social isolation, negative emotions and more!

Western cultures may suffer from a gratitude gap, but from a Christian perspective, it becomes a spiritual challenge and an opportunity for growth. By recognizing the influences of consumer culture, the distractions of the digital age, and the neglect of Christian mindfulness, we can take deliberate steps to reintegrate gratitude and faith into our lives. Thanksgiving, through a Christian lens, is not just about a holiday; it’s a way of living that brings joy and renewal to our faith journey. Through conscious effort, we can bridge the gap and find true fulfillment in our relationship with God and in being grateful for His abundant blessings.

I put together a Gratitude Reflection book to help people do just that! You may want to check it out as part of your holiday experience or as a practice in your spiritual journey. This workbook helps navigate you to process what is gratitude, how it can help, and gives you exercises to implement more gratitude in your life. This is a great addition to upcoming Thanksgiving holiday or to try something new in your spiritual journey. May we choose gratitude and thankfulness this season with an open heart!


Join Christine Sine on October 14 or watch the recording later. October and November, the season between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving, is gratitude season on Godspacelight. Christine Sine will encourage you to enter into the practice of gratitude in this  interactive retreat that will help us enter this season of gratitude with joy and delight in our hearts.


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