Subscribe to our newsletter

Save a Marriage Today

Connect with us

My Favorite Time of Year

We need to guide our children and grandchildren into the habit of giving thanks in all things.
By Barbara Rainey

The leaves have changed and are at their peak. There is a sugar maple tree on the south side of our house that is glorious in its expanse of pure yellow. I like to sit under it and just soak in the color. I don’t do it enough, but every year I make myself sit in its splendor at least once even if it's just for 10 minutes. Fall is welcoming. It calls us home to crackling fires, warm soups and stews, and extended family time at Thanksgiving. It's my favorite of the year.

Thanksgiving is simply a time to give thanks. But do we do that? And better yet, is the giving of thanks to be reserved for only this one time of year?

As my children were growing up, I wanted them to know the real story of Thanksgiving, the history of the Mayflower and the people who sacrificed so much to come to the new world. Mostly I wanted my kids to know about their faith; faith that inspired great courage and modeled heroic lives of gratitude and thanksgiving for generations to come.

In 1620 and 1621 the Pilgrims had nothing but gratitude. Today we have everything but gratitude. Thanking God is, for a Christian, a reflection of a heart that trusts God. The Pilgrims had much to trust Him for and much about which they could have been fearful, but the overriding lesson of their lives is one of gratitude which is an expression of great faith.

Reading the stories of their journey over the Atlantic, their first winter without shelter, and their severe lack of food and clothing and protection is almost shocking to our modern way of thinking. But in the midst of it all they expressed gratitude to God. They understood that being grateful is a choice. We think being grateful is a result of being happy. We believe if circumstances are good, then we can be grateful. But they understood the biblical truth of “giving thanks in all things for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, emphasis mine).

In the midst of a struggling economy and a new administration in Washington we have national difficulties for which we should give thanks as the Pilgrims did. Closer to home, each of us needs to give thanks for the abundance the majority of us in America live with every day. We should even give thanks for the air we breathe and the light we enjoy every day even when it’s cloudy. They are daily gifts from the hand of God. And we need to guide our children and grandchildren into the habit of giving thanks in all things. This is not just for adults.

But the greatest gift for which we must give thanks regularly is our freedom. We are free to worship and speak and go and come as we please in this country, and that alone is a gift we do not adequately appreciate. My prayer is that we will grow in gratitude in this nation and that we will value our freedom more highly, always giving thanks to God, for it is all from Him.

Copyright © 2012 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. She and her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, are co-founders of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother's Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You're About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara's work at

Find Barbara online on:
Twitter @BarbaraRainey and Facebook



Save a Marriage Today

Subscribe to our newsletter