Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day in America! Over this past month, much has been written and discussed about thankfulness/gratitude around this holiday.

Sometime in mid October, I signed up to take the “31 Day Gratitude Challenge” initiated by ROH and adapted from the book “Choosing Gratitude” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.  Reading this publication several years ago, stirred in me the desire to make gratitude and thanksgiving a deliberate life choice. It also challenged me to recognize the seemingly insignificant and small things (little g’s) along with the more evident favors and gifts (big G’s). When things are going well, gratefulness can come easily, but how about the tough times too?  I wish I could tell you…. that my every choice since then has always been right. But, sadly, many times I still choose to be thankless and ungrateful. Maybe I am tired and not feeling well or just allowing the cares and demands of my world to overwhelm me. Either way finds me complaining and whining to my self and others-my emotions running unleashed and out of control.

What I have learned since that time is that my emotional health-my happiness, joy, and contentment-will be directly related to whether I am choosing to be thankful or not!! Whether I am choosing to focus on God and his goodness or myself and my circumstances.
For me reading scripture especially Psalm 100:3-5 helps me realign my focus.

Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
enter his gates with thanksgiving
And his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up the definition of thanksgiving in a republished 1828 copy of Noah Webster’s “Dictionary of the English Language.” But, before I saw it, another word, “thanksgiver” jumped off the page to me. So who, I thought, is a “thanksgiver?”
According to Mr. Webster a “thanksgiver” is, “One who gives thanks or acknowledges a kindness.”  He goes on to define “thanksgiving” as the “act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies.” So I wondered, how will this 1828 dictionary define gratitude? It states gratitude is “an emotion of the heart….thankfulness…..a virtue of the highest excellence, as it implies a feeling and generous heart.”

It all ties so well together, doesn’t it. Thanksgiving and gratitude come from the heart.  My desire to choose gratitude means that my heart’s desire is to be a “thanksgiver.”   And above all to recognize that the source of all blessing……large or small….in good seasons and hard seasons….is the Lord himself…..to whom we owe all the honor and glory and praise and thanksgiving!

Oh, and one more thing, the “31 Day Gratitude Challenge” has challenged me to give thanks for some difficult people and circumstances right now in my life. How about you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Photo By Love is a Big Deal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Photo By Love is a Big Deal

Wishing you a Blessed and Wonderful Thanksgiving!

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