Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Thankfulness

I'm reading a book about thankfulness, at the moment. The author talks about how she made a decision to find 1000 gifts - or graces - for which she could be thankful. Not, she hastens to assure the readers, in a 'Pollyanna' way, but truly honouring God for what he gives us daily, weekly, or just occasionally.

I decided to start writing a list myself. On the first day I easily came up with about sixty items - mostly people - for which I am thankful, without much thought. I listed many family and friends, and other individuals who have been instrumental in my learning and growing over the years. I listed other random things as they occurred to me: chocolate, books, beanbags, coffee, our new bathroom. There is much which I take for granted, but in global terms I am wealthy and have a great deal more than most.

On the second day, I slowed a little, jotting down names of authors who have inspired or encouraged me, abstract concepts such as laughter and love, small pleasures such as walking along a nature trail, playing with my grandson, stroking a cat. I thought of scents and sounds, of the evidence of God in all creation.

On the third day, it felt harder; I started listing individual fruits and vegetables for which I'm thankful, board games I like to play, books I have enjoyed reading. I didn't remember everything I had listed on the first day, and it started to feel like a chore.

On the fourth day, I didn't write anything down, but I thought of some of the things I had previously listed; even if I never come up with more than 180 'things' it's a lot to be thankful for. And I found that, starting the day by being thankful, I continued the day feeling grateful for those around me, for my health, for the comfort of my home. When I am deliberately being thankful, it's much harder to feel anxious or irritable or frustrated.

The Bible is full of exhortations to be thankful. Here's a list of Bible verses about thankfulness; skimming down, some aren't directly about thanks, but it's simpler to refer to this than come up with my own. Paul gave thanks even when in prison, and started all his letters by thanking God for those he was writing to, for gifts he had been given, for the responsibility he had to spread the good news.

We Christians should be known for our love, but also for being thankful people, acknowledging God in all we are, all we have, and all he has given us. I know there will be occasions in future when I won't feel at all thankful, but that's all the more reason to get into the habit of gratefulness now, when there is so much to be thankful for.

1 comment:

Colin Machan said...

Thank you for that reminder today.

God is good; stay close to Him.