It is wonderful that our nation sets apart the fourth Thursday of November each year as a national holiday, calling all of us to express our gratitude for the blessings in our lives. But if we relegate the giving of thanks to just one day per year, we make a huge mistake! We live far more contented lives if we make the practice of gratitude a daily habit.
John Henry Jowett remarks, “Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
Life is only made full for us in the habit of thankfulness. Apart from regular thanksgiving, blessings might surround us, but we miss them—at least we miss taking them to heart and actually embracing the joy they bring when we don’t express gratitude for them.
Henry Ward Beecher adds, “If one should give me a dish of sand and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes and search for them with my clumsy fingers and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it and now would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attractions.
“The unthankful heart, like my fingers in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”
It truly is the practice of gratitude that enables us to take to heart the joy of God’s blessings. Something vital goes missing in our lives if we don’t make it a habit to express gratitude throughout each day.
Thanksgiving should not only be something we express with our words; it should be something we express in action. Gratitude is most real when we don’t just talk it out but live it out.
Johannes A. Gaertner observes, “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
The richest expressions of gratitude are not made just with words but with our lives. The richest expressions of gratitude are made when we extend kindness toward another in keeping with the kindness we have experienced in our lives.
I hope you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, and I hope that you and I develop the habit of saying and living thanksgiving as a daily habit.
—Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.