There is an old French proverb that says, “Gratitude is the heart’s memory.”
Last week I talked about being thankful. It was Thanksgiving, a time when we stop to focus on and be grateful for what we have. We indulge in fellowship and food. We also reach out more to help the less fortunate by giving time or money to shelters or soup kitchens.
It seems appropriate that our time of thankfulness for what we have should be followed by Christmas, a time of giving. Frank A. Clark, author of “The Country Parson,” is quoted as saying, “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”
Fill your heart with memories that generate that wonderful feeling of gratitude. It will brighten your day and spill over to everyone around you.
What is it you are most grateful for?
This is the time of year when people talk about what they are thankful for. Many friends on Face Book are posting their thoughts each day. It was my Toastmasters group’s theme this week. Nearly all of the comments have been connected to relationships with family and friends. The little things are the big things; like breakfast in bed, help with chores, a relaxing walk, or a beautiful sunrise/sunset. Others were thankful for the fact they had homes jobs, and food.
My conclusion is that people really do understand the priorities that give value to life. No one was thankful they drove the right car or wore the correct clothes. Maybe the media and Hollywood’s push for glamor and reaching a social perfection isn’t convincing everyone.
The act of being thankful is what Paul referred to in I Thessalonians 5:16-18; “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul wasn’t saying that every situation is filled with joy but that you can be filled with joy if you pray and give God gratitude. When we focus on God’s will; which is “pray continually; give thanks;” we don’t allow negative thoughts to invade our minds. The more we find to be grateful for, the more joy will fill us. Being thankful is a step toward being joyful.
What are you doing to keep the attitude of gratitude all year long?
I woke up this morning to the sound of rain cascading past my window and I wanted to stay in bed. As my dog encouraged me to get up, I thought of Psalm 118:34:
“This is the day the Lord has made;” Yes, the Creator of all things, from the massive universe to the tiny fingers of a newborn baby, made this day for me. He is the one who brought my path to this place in time where I can lie in bed and watch the rain, or get up and fill my day with activity. He gives me life and I choose what to do with it.
“Let us rejoice,” I choose to give Him thanks and praise for whatever happens.
“And be glad in it.” When I feel gratitude toward God, I am filled with joy and happiness.
This can be the perfect morning prayer. It begins by addressing who the Lord is, then says what I should do and ends with how I will feel. I repeat this verse as I get ready for my day to make a difference in my mood. Grumbling is erased with thankfulness.
Do you begin your morning with the weight of the day’s agenda? Or do you take a few minutes to connect with your Creator and let Him ease your load?
I have so much around me to be thankful for. Three large picture windows in my living room give me a wide view of the green meadow lined with timber. Playful calves run beside their mothers and mingle with the horses. Today some wild turkey wandered through and at dusk the deer filed in for their nightly grazing.
Wow, that’s just one view. Add to it my wonderful family filled with love and health, some precious friends and a compassionate church family. God blessed me in many ways, but I don’t always feel grateful.
Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy that there “are six threads of abundant living which produce a tapestry of contentment.
Gratitude is when we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all we have and realize we are rich indeed. Gratitude gives way to:
Simplicity, the desire to clear out, pare down, and realize the essentials of what we need to live truly well. Simplicity brings:
Order, both internally and externally. A sense of order brings us:
Harmony which provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
Beauty opens us to
When I read Sarah’s book, I realized that gratitude is not a feeling but a way to think. When we weave the six “threads” together they form a shield against the chaos of life. Chaos can rob us of joy. Sometimes we have to fill our minds with the rich blessings given us before our emotions will follow.
How do you regain the joy of gratitude when you are feeling low?
(Breathnach, Sarah Ban, Warner Books, 1995, January 3.)