To be thankful is to be “conscious of benefit received.” Genuine gratitude springs from the awareness of blessings, gifts, or benefits received.
Gratitude presumes, of course, a giver.
One reason to be thankful is to honor the Giver.
Gratitude is also popular. Studies show that those who approach life with a spirit of thanksgiving are happier and less stressed. (Check out this L.A. Times article on “The Benefits of Gratitude” by Mary MacVean for a good discussion of the subject.)
Another reason to be thankful is for one’s own benefit and happiness.
I detect a subtle shift in our cultural attitudes toward gratitude.
Should thanksgiving be an expression of honor and appreciation aimed at a benefactor or a personal discipline designed to create a happier and healthier life?
I suggest that gratitude rightly motivated to honor the Giver will also unfailingly result in a happier and healthier life. That’s the way God designed the world, and the aforementioned studies prove it. (This phenomenon is called “common grace.” It refers to truths woven into the fabric of life on this earth that everyone experiences, even those who don’t acknowledge a Giver.)
As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, ask yourself to whom you are grateful and why. If you honor the Giver with a thankful heart, you will be experience the benefits of gratitude in your own life.
I wish you abundant blessings from the gracious hand of God, the great Giver.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15