Giving Thanks

In the United States we are celebrating one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. We have some close friends who are new to America and the first few years they were here they didn’t know how to respond to the frequently asked question, “So, what are you doing for Thanksgiving this year?” It makes one realize that in America, it is a holiday we take for granted.

It is actually the only holiday left that has not been completely commercialized. How do you package gratitude? Can much money be made marketing thankfulness? Evidently not or we would have seen the holiday grow into what the others have become—a grand opportunity for selling things and emphasizing the material.

So in the tradition of Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for? How often do you feel grateful and do you express your feelings? Do you wake up every day and say, “Wow, God, thank you soooo much that I’m alive. I’m just amazed at this life you’ve given me! What do you have in mind for me today?”

Expressing gratitude is powerful. It can actually change the course and direction of your life. If you do nothing else but simply change your attitude about your life and begin expressing thanks for it, it will dramatically improve for the better.

Underlying gratitude is acceptance. When we accept where we are in our lives, that it is a reflection of all of our combined choices, we can stop blaming others and be grateful that we are where we are because we have chosen it. We can be grateful for the amazing freedom and power of choice. That doesn’t mean you might not see some things you might start making different choices about, but it means that when you fully comprehend the power and freedom to choose that God has given you, you will be amazed and grateful.

Life itself, your very breath and being are something to be grateful for. These are the essence of life, the gift of life itself. There have been times in my life that I didn’t feel exactly excited about being alive. Frankly, there have been times that I didn’t really care to live at all. Depression, anxiety, fear, discouragement, and devastating loss all work to cloud and obscure the precious gift of life and the beauty of who we are. Seeking support and professional help at times like these can be an essential way out of a very dark tunnel. Learning to express gratitude at the beginning of each day and thanking God for the very breath within you helps you start to turn the corner out of despair.

There is something magical about giving thanks whether it is to someone for a favor done or to God, or to nature. Have you ever been thankful for the blue sky, the song birds, the beautiful trees, the green grass, the soft whisper of wind, the sound of the ocean, a lofty mountain scene, the sound of a rippling brook, the beauty of a mother and child, the mystery of new life, or a myriad of other things? Telling the Creator of All that you notice and are grateful for these, opens your heart to allow love and healing to flow into you.

In fact, gratitude could change our planet and our world. Just think what might happen if we were grateful and valued each human life? How might our planet change if we valued and were grateful for its precious resources? How would you act differently if you cherished and were thankful for every moment of your own life?

In a world that has seemingly gone upside down, we can each make small, but significant changes by learning to express gratitude. Whether you are in the United States celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving or whether you live somewhere else, take the time today, and every day, to be mindful of all of your blessings, giving thanks for All That Is. It will change your life. Thank you!