For thousands of generations, the word of God has taught us how to live. One of the greatest lessons is thankfulness. There are many interpretations of the holiday we celebrate called Thanksgiving. Some are more myth than fact, but we do know that in 1863, with his Thanksgiving Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln finally made it a national holiday.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica and admonished them to “Thank God in everything (no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks), for this is the will of God for you (who are in Christ Jesus the Revealer and Mediator of that will.)” The Lord understands the power of gratitude and God wants His children to live under the covering and the blessing of a thankful heart.

Gratitude and selfishness cannot coexist. When we are self-absorbed our worldview narrows, and our perspective is distorted. When “self” rules and becomes our focus it leads to discontent and a feeling of never having enough. Recently I read a wonderful quote from author Melody Beattie who said, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Well said and an excellent thought to ponder and take to heart. Thankfulness is showing gratitude, being aware of, and appreciating God’s benefits. It remembers His goodness. “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name! Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all His benefits.” Psalm 103

Stephen Post is a professor of bioethics and has conducted research and tested the effects of love, caring, gratitude, and other positive emotion on human life. His research concluded that “love-related qualities such as gratitude can actually make us physically healthier.” Dr. Post states that taking just 15 minutes a day “focusing on the things we are grateful for will significantly increase our bodies natural antibodies.” He also found that gratitude calms the system “inducing a state called resonance, that is associated with healthier blood pressure, and heart rate.” Dr. Post has discovered that those who have grateful attitudes heal faster.

God knows this and that is why He encourages His children to find their rest and peace in Him. A grateful heart is a humbly thankful heart that realizes, “the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 are words that give us confidence and encourage peace and gratitude.

This is the season for Thanksgiving. Determine in your heart and with your mouth and in your action to demonstrate gratitude. Sing the song of thanksgiving found in Psalms 75 “We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks! For your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.”

Happy Thanksgiving!