Today as I write this article on the fourth Thursday of November, America is celebrating ‘Thanksgiving Day’ which is one of the most celebrated days in their calendar and it prompted me to express my thoughts about the benefits of a national day of thanksgiving and even of greater value, living a lifestyle of every day and in everything giving thanks.
Thank and think both come from the same Anglo-Saxon root word which is very interesting because it reminds us to always have an attitude of gratitude, to show appreciation, to count our blessings and ‘think thankful’!
Some of the most inspiring people are those who have suffered pain or hardship and yet they have never become bitter or ungrateful and have even been able to give thanks for their handicap or hardship. Helen Keller who was blind and deaf for most of her life said:
“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work and my God.”
In fact she said that the only thing worse than being blind was to have sight but no vision.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the internationally acclaimed Soviet author and Nobel Prize winner who spent years in prison in Siberia said: “Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”
A close friend who went through a long battle with cancer said that the illness had been a journey that had brought him closer to God, to his family and some of the best years of his marriage. Even on a bad day he learned to still count his blessings. One of the keys was that he never lost his sense of humour. One day he told his family he had invested in some real estate, but didn’t tell them it was a plot in the local cemetery! He also made the observation that since the cancer diagnosis none of the medical professionals had been at all interested in his cholesterol levels!
No matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs, being thankful can mean the difference between living in misery or joy and it is in fact a medically proven path to achieving greater health and happiness.
The Apostle Paul who suffered more than most, having been beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, falsely imprisoned and faced many dangers and yet he taught the importance of thanksgiving.
“Always and in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”
I Thess. 5: 18
Now that is more than a good thought, that is a ‘God-thought’!