“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” – Cicero
I’ve noticed a trend this year on Facebook that I failed to see in the past. Perhaps I just missed out on it, or it is a new thing, but people began on November 1st listing one thing for which they are thankful every day leading up to Thanksgiving Day. This is a great idea that actually has far-reaching benefits.
It has been proven that regularly expressing gratitude increases persons’ psychological well-being. If you take time to express your thanks, you become happier. The classic study looked at college students who kept a Gratitude Journal. For a month, at the end of every day, the sat down and wrote down five things for which they were thankful. They could duplicate items over multiple days, it was just important that they do it, reflect on what they felt gratitude about that particular day. When we express thanksgiving, it’s good for us. Students who carried through scored higher on inventories of psychological well-being after the exercise than before.
For Christ-followers, we’ve always known gratitude to be beneficial. Science is just now catching up. The Apostle Paul advises us to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). He recognizes that life, itself, is a gift from God and that salvation is an even greater gift. Those of us who have received both these gifts will want to overflow with thanks to God for his infinite goodness.
Life is not always easy. Things don’t always go our way. This is true. However, that’s no excuse to ignore the many tremendous blessings in our lives every day. We simply need to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to see.
This Thanksgiving give thanks to God for his immeasurable grace and providential care. It’s the right thing to do and it will make your life much more enjoyable.