I love that in the United States we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving — a beautiful tradition where we get together with our loved ones to give thanks for all of our blessings. Thanksgiving sets the tone for the remainder of the season where we’re focused on giving to others and celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Let’s take advantage of the holiday spirit to make gratitude a habit.
On a practical level, research shows that there are psychological benefits to gratitude. Gratitude reduces stress, increases happiness, enhances empathy, promotes social interactions, and fosters new relationships. Research also shows that gratitude also counteracts negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, and cynicism (which BTW, the Bible tells us to work against these emotions).
On a spiritual level, gratitude fuels our faith.
Psalm 107:8-9 reminds us to give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds. He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. The Bible further tells us in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.
One of the most powerful benefits of gratitude is that it leads to contentment. I recently read a quote by Lewis Howes where he said: “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”
The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 6:6 that godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Let’s be purposeful about looking for and focusing on those good and perfect gifts from God above. When we do, as Lewis Howes says, we will always feel like we have more. We don’t have to look very far. Let’s be thankful for being alive, for the hope we have in Christ, for the clothes on our back, for the ability to read this post, and for ______________ (you fill in the blank).
Today, I want to encourage you to extend being thankful beyond the holiday season and into your everyday life. Start a gratitude journal and list three things every day that you’re grateful for. Let’s develop an attitude of gratitude and do as the Psalmist says in Psalm 9:1: let’s give thanks to the LORD, with all our hearts and tell of all His wonderful deeds.
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