Monday, November 12, 2018

What does thanksgiving mean?

noun - the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.

adjective - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful.

Thanksgiving is not only a holiday to cook a lot of food and see your family, although that’s part of it. It’s not a day to watch parades and football, although that can be part of it too.

Thanksgiving is a condition of the heart first. Then it is an expression to God and others of what is inside.

Being grateful means recognizing all of the good in my life and being more verbal about the good than about the difficulties.

Showing gratitude to others means thanking them specifically for what they do that is meaningful or helpful. We might thank someone for simple actions, opening a door, or we can thank them for an attitude such as their thoughtfulness.

Giving thanks to God is the same. We recognize what He does for us on a daily basis and thank Him specifically for that.

We train our children to say, “Thank you” but we can teach them to say, “Thank you for ___.” That small change can launch a life of gratitude.

Why is it important?

Giving thanks changes us!

Anything that the LORD tells us to do is for our best. His Word is full of commands and examples of giving thanks. Even Jesus gave thanks to the Father. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them. (Mark 14:23)

Science has proven that gratitude and thanksgiving are beneficial.
  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships and improves existing ones. 
  • Gratitude improves physical health. 
  • Gratitude improves psychological health. 
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem. 
  • Gratitude increases mental strength. 
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. 
  • Grateful people sleep better. 
  • Gratitude makes us happier. 
  • Gratitude reduces materialism.
Consider . . . 
Ingratitude can be a very destructive state of mind.

Ingratitude is so focused on what I don’t have or unmet expectations in my life to the exclusion of all of the good that God has given me. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father. (James 1:17)

Ingratitude leads to anger, bitterness, and even depression. A lack of gratitude erodes relationships.

Why are people ungrateful?

There can be many roots to the fruit of ingratitude. They can include: an expectant attitude, a demanding spirit, selfishness or self-centeredness, and pride.

A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Henry Ward Beecher

Gratitude changes everything.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. William Arthur Ward