Cultivating a spirit of thanksgiving each and every day would have a transformative effect on us. Looking for the things in our lives for which we are grateful would leave us happier, more fulfilled, and create a deeper spirit of generosity in our hearts. Instead of focusing on our disappointments, imagine the light-heartedness that would flood our encounters with others if we embraced the good in our lives with a spirit of wonder and delight. So as we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, let us consider the reasons we have to be grateful.
Who are the people in our lives who love us, who have faith in us, who encourage and nurture us? Who challenges us to be our best selves, mentors us, and guides us on our journey of life? Who helps us to notice and correct self-defeating attitudes we may have? Who opens our eyes, ears and hearts to things of beauty and goodness that surround us? Who says to us: “You can.” when we whine, “I can’t.” They are reasons to be grateful.
What are the things in this world that inspire a sense of wonder in us? What in our world evokes a sense of awe: a sunset, a piece of music, a beautifully choreographed dance, a new-born child? What instills a spirit of hope, fulfillment and joy in us: a new day dawning, a project completed with a sense of accomplishment? These too are reasons to give thanks.
As if those people and things in our lives were not reason enough to be grateful, there is the ultimate gift in our lives: God. Think about what Fr. Thom suggested two weeks ago in his column: “God is calling us to a life of abundant joy.” Or, consider Rachel’s assertion last week that “God desperately wants to be involved in each of our lives.” God alone is reason enough for us to be grateful. God wants and does draw near to us. God is always with us, giving us what we need to live lives faithful to the gospel. God desires that we open our hearts to Him and that we embrace his desire that we be united with Him (John 17). Imagine that. God wants us to be one with Him.
We have so many reasons to be grateful. And, God is the source of them all. How can we thank God enough? (1 Th 3:9)
Take Your Next Step: Make a list of people or things for which you are grateful. Offer a prayer of thanks to God for them. Make an effort to thank someone for the gift they are to you. Once you have a list of concrete reasons to be thankful, each night reflect on the one person, circumstance, or event for which you are particularly grateful that day.