Throughout the month of November we hear a lot about “Thanksgiving”, as in the holiday story and being thankful for basic needs being met. But peculiar to America, the day after we nostalgically fill our stomachs we have “black Friday”, a time of racing off to shop for the best deals and display full blown commercialism and greed. What happened?
The words gratitude, thankfulness or gratefulness come from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’ , it is a feeling of appreciation . We can be grateful for something that gives us pleasure or contentment and or supplies comfort or alleviates discomfort. The definition of thankful is to be ; 1.conscious of benefit received or for what we are about to receive – makes us truly thankful – a feeling. 2. it is expressive or 3. we are well pleased
How do we live a life of gratitude? How we choose to look at life or our circumstances can be either dismal or hopeful. Being grateful comes from a healthier perspective. Here are some points to ponder:
- It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and there is something in it.
- Be grateful for what you have already while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have , what makes you think you would be happy with more? Ray T. Bennett
- Charles Dickens said, “Reflect upon your present blessing, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
It is so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of “I want”, “I need” ,”I gotta have it too”, while comparing ourselves to others. The marketing and media industry wants us to focus only on temporary things but God wants us to value the eternal things.
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 1 John 2:16 (NLT)
6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim 6:6-8 (ESV)
Watching the news this past year has caused me to stop and count my many blessings more than ever. Our country has suffered massive destruction coast to coast – storms and floods, volcanic eruptions, and massive forest fires. I pray for victims and first responders but also stop and thank God for my home and all the things I have. I have so much! We all have so much!
I believe that true gratitude comes from a heart that recognizes we deserve nothing but God gives us everything we need. We are given so many blessings every day but are entitled to none. I can learn to be content with what I have. I was recently challenged to write down one thing I am grateful for everyday over the next 30 days. Maybe that would be a good exercise for you and your family too because a thankful heart is a happy heart. Let us live with an attitude of gratitude.