by Donna Berger ~
Do you know that thankful people are happier and healthier? Scientific studies actually show that thankful people are happier, have stronger relationships, and have higher functioning immune systems. “Be thankful,” or “Give Thanks,” this holiday season is advice that actually is good for us. When we are grateful – we focus on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have – and that makes us happy, feel better about ourselves and feel more optimistic.
Over and over in the Bible we are called to be thankful. In 1 Chronicles 16:34 we read,
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.
Paul emphasizes it in 1 Thessalonians 5:18,
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
A spirit of gratefulness is good for us physically and spiritually. When we get caught up in our problems and fixate on all the things we don’t have, we miss out on all the wonderful things we have to be thankful for. In the most challenging times there are points of light that break through the darkness that we don’t want to miss. Maybe you were in an accident with your new car, but you were safe and not injured. Or, perhaps you are sick, but you have a wonderful family rallying around you. In my darkest hours, I could always be grateful that the Lord heard my every prayer. I could always be thankful that it was my earthly future that was in question, not my eternal one, and I always gave thanks for the strength and energy the Lord gave me to keep on going when I felt I couldn’t take another step.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
A grateful heart is a humble heart, and there is nothing that will draw us closer to the Lord than the prayers of a grateful and humble heart. Giving thanks to the Lord sharpens our focus on Christ’s enduring love and faithfulness and opens us up to His continued blessings. In gratitude, Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
So, if you find yourself short on thanks this Thanksgiving, then it’s time to experience the joy and peace of gratitude. Start making a mental or written note of the positives in your life and remember to say thank you for them. Thank God above all, and thank everyone around you for their part in making your day a little brighter. Start enjoying the physical and spiritual benefits of living a life of gratitude.
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Ps. 9:1