I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
Gratitude is the catch-phrase in today’s world, in every field from science to business, art and environmental studies. Harvard studies have linked gratitude to higher enthusiasm, alertness, optimism, attentiveness, energy, people being more motivated, likeable, forgiving, others-oriented, forgiving, generous and helpful. The study itself linked Giving Thanks & Giving Back as moving together.
So where is this gratitude in the holiday season when it seems more important to get the turkey in the oven than to thank Aunt Sue for bringing her lovely casserole and pecan pie, even though we do appreciate it…we just have other things to attend to. Where is this same gratitude when the season brings painful memories or reminds us that our circumstances aren’t ideal and we hope for much more than we are currently living?
How do we form genuine gratitude in our hearts from a place of imperfect circumstances?
In her short talk Known by Our Gratitude, Ann Voskamp brings forth the quote above from GK Chesteron, followed by his other words ” To think is to thank.” Also driving home the point that “if we [as Christians] aren’t the people known for thanking God, perhaps we aren’t thinking enough of God.”
I Thessalonians 5:18 says to “Give Thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
If we are thinking first of God, and His gifts, we understand that our circumstances are not permanent, but His blessings and gifts are very permanent even in the temporary life we are living. We are aware there is good to be grateful for, and a God that is the source of that good.
Gratitude not only makes us focus on the positive, it helps us amplify the light in our situation, in the room and in our overall world. Gratitude amplified goodness which enhances wellness. “Gratitude in our circumstances is essential to our wholeness (Voskamp).”
If scientis were able to link increased productivity by re-training our cognitive focus through gratitude exercises such as writing three things you’re grateful for daily, think of the amazing societal changes we could make in our communities by living a lifestyle of genuine gratitude daily. Not just on Thanksgiving, but using this day as a starting point!
I pray today that as your green bean casserole burns, your potatoes bubble over and your veggie tray hasn’t arrived yet, you’ll tae a moment to thank the Lord that you have a home to entertain guests in. You have family to love and that you have a God who loves you. And remember that in every circumstance, we ought to give Thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving from the entire She’s Intentional blogger team!