“IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD, AND TO SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH:” Psalm 92:1.
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is….. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 5: 17 & 20.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
On the ABC News webpage, Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, states it this way, "If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system."
The benefits of thankfulness are plentiful. Thankfulness releases all the “happy” chemicals into our bodies. It counters negative thinking. It assists in shifting perspective from a variety of irrational thought patterns. It opposes society’s “give me- giveme” mentality. It encourages positive association with other people. And most importantly, it creates another avenue through which our spirits can connect to the One who is the Author of everything good, beautiful, and wonderful.
There are many negative things in the world today. In fact, we don’t have to look beyond our own homes to find something to become disgruntled about. But that’s the easy thing to do. Human nature gravitates to the negative. That’s why gossip is prevalent. It’s easier to repeat-and even believe-a negative comment someone makes about another person while a positive remark is often quickly forgotten. Our propensity to focus on the negative keeps us expecting problems, whether it’s speculating about health issues, anticipating financial trouble, worrying about our children, or any other number of things to cause anxiety.
Meanwhile, all around is cause for thankfulness. The positive lurks in the same location as the negative. We simply have to search it out. In truth, when we begin to look for things for which to be grateful, we find that the search isn’t as difficult as we might have imagined. The obvious things are always there. Things like food, clothing, and shelter, but once those are noted, we can become mindful of hundreds of other little things: the quiet when the neighbor’s dog is not barking, the giggle of a child riding his bike down the street, the devotion of a family pet, even the good that seeps out of a tragedy or a painful loss.
When we give heed to the good, we begin to connect with God in a fresh, new way. Thankfulness allows us to see that God is a part of our lives even though we live in the midst of a fallen world. It also gives us God’s perspective. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” Hebrews 12:2. Jesus saw the future good that His sacrifice would bring, and it carried Him through the agony of Calvary, and in His sacrifice, he provided for the greatest blessing we could ever receive: an eternity of joy, peace, and love- His provision of everlasting, abundant life. Now this is something for which everyone can be thankful!
So what are some practical ways of beginning this journey?
-Start a thanksgiving journal. Take a few moments out of the week to reflect on the specific blessings you have encountered.
-Start a blessings notebook. Keep it in a prominent location in your home. You (and other family members as well) may jot a specific thing for which you are grateful each time you pass by the notebook.
-Share 3 things for which you are grateful each day with a friend or family member
-Begin each morning expressing thankfulness to God. After all “This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
-Count your blessings as you go to sleep at night.
-Create a thanksgiving tree. Take strips of cloth in seasonal colors and write a statement of gratitude on it. Tie it to a dried limb that is “planted” in a painted coffee can.
-Display a beautiful container in which you place slips of paper offering thanksgiving. Keep the slips of paper and a pen close to the container for frequent deposits.
-Make a cake for a neighbor, and tell them how grateful you are for them.
-Send a card to someone who has spoken into your life. Express this gratitude to them.
-Praise your family members for the things they do to contribute to the household and for the characteristics for which you are grateful. Do this in fun ways as well as verbally. I have taken dry erase markers and noted my appreciation on their bathroom mirrors.
-Stand beneath a star-studded sky. With lifted arms shout out your gratitude to the God who knows the number of hair on your head yet creates the vastness of the universe. Wow! I’m really grateful to have His devoted attention!
-Create a memory book of life situations for which you feel thankful. The thing I find amazing is that often, the very life events for which I am now thankful are situations that at the time, I did not understand nor did I feel very thankful about!
So I leave you with a resounding, “HAPPY THANKSGIVING!” wishing you the blessing of thankfulness not only for November, but throughout the year!