Thanksgiving. It’s the day set aside on our calendars to remind us to be thankful. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving comes and goes every year with very little recognition other than turkeys and football (both of which I like). Many of us lament how little attention is given to this day but as Christians, we know that with every day that we are gifted with, we can always find new reasons to be thankful.
As Christians, we try to promote thankfulness as a way of life. And it should be. We have been saved from the rightful punishment that our sins deserve. That alone is reason enough to be thankful every day. Besides that, we live in a country where we have many freedoms that we take for granted. More still are the everyday blessings that we have (family, friends, jobs … maybe to some of you those are not blessings but “thorns in your side”). So we have reasons to be thankful, but are there any actual benefits to being of a grateful mindset? Well, according to an article from Forbes magazine titled “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round”, there are. They are as follows:
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
- Gratitude improves physical health
- Gratitude improves psychological health.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem.
- Gratitude increases mental strength.
So there you have it. I wouldn’t promote everything that Forbes magazine would publish, but here they have published something that I can get behind. From a much more reliable source, Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (NKJV) Scripture is full of such passages that direct us to be thankful and full of joy but as we know, everything is always easier said than done. Even though it can be difficult, it can and should be a mindset of ours, to always be thankful.
As I sit here and write this, I am reminding myself of this. I don’t feel thankful, I don’t feel joyful. I just finished burying the old family farm dog, Geronimo, who has been a friend and companion to me and the rest of my family. It was supposed to be a routine vet appointment where they find out how they would heal our friend. He was supposed to come home with me and chase the cows for many more years to come. But then came the gut-wrenching news that he had very advanced bone cancer and that we should say good-bye. I do not shed tears often, and I admit to it even less, but today is a day I am unashamed to say that I did. It hurt to say good-bye to him but I am thankful for the time I had with my old pal. As my sister Mary and I stood at the grave I had dug, I was prompted to remind myself that not one sparrow falls to the ground without God noticing, and so Geronimo had not “fallen” without his notice either.
God is good. Life is good. I have much to look back on and be thankful for, and much to look forward to. So do you. Let’s use this Sabbath day as another opportunity to remember to be thankful.