1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (HCSB)
1 Chronicles 16:34 – Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (HCSB)
I was having coffee with my friends and listening to them tell about their plans for Thanksgiving. The thought came to me that when most people think of Thanksgiving, they think of weeks of preparation that concludes with a day of the family gathering to eat too much. Thanksgiving should be more than a day of eating; it should be a life of giving thanks with true gratitude. So many times “giving thanks” is a term used to describe a rote prayer said before meals, words recited quickly without meaning. My father prayed before every meal – to this day I have no clue as to what he said! True thanksgiving is true gratitude, and gratitude is actually good for us! Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University, is quoted as saying “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” I read that researchers at Baylor University found that gratitude leads directly to feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. I take that to mean that I need to wake up every morning being thankful, not that my life is perfect by earthly standards, not that I own more than enough possessions, not that I have all that I think I need but because I have decided to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Focusing on what I don’t have leads to self-pity, resentment, and bitterness. Focusing on the blessings in my life leads to contentment, joy, and gratitude. I think of the Pilgrims and their hardships, yet they chose to give thanks. I heard someone say that we should not focus on the glass being half empty or half full; we should be thankful that we have a glass at all. Practicing gratitude doesn’t cost me anything but can make such a difference in my life. John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Father, I just want to stop and say “thank You.” I pray that I will live out the gratitude I have to You and to others. Lord, I sincerely give thanks for all that I have and especially for the love You show to me every day.