Holidays Spirituality

Being Thankful Requires a Little Thought

We can work on being thankful from two directions.


Our word “thank” comes from an older word, “think.”

To be thankful today for the most precious things in our lives, we have to think about those things. And it really is a valuable exercise.

Spend a few moments today seeing and thinking about the precious, truly valuable gifts you have received.

Then, it goes a step further. This is from one of my favorite philosophers:

Therefore what is not effectually known is precisely what is not adequately loved.     – Robert Earl Cushman

Thanksgiving is a time to work on both ends of that project.

  • Pay attention to what we care about.
  • Love what we want to pay attention to.

This particular holiday is a very appropriate time to think about our lives, our loves, our deep values. And that thinking will strengthen our love for and our investments in those things. Thus, being thankful (“think-ful”) is a very productive, healing, focusing, uplifiting exercise.

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  • I am particularly fond of this etymological kinship.

    In a still unaccomplished treatise I began to write for discussion in my congregation and with others about a ‘Gospel-based’ political thinking as the natural extension of personal religion and morals, I suddenly saw myself committed and heavily relying on just that relation between think and thank, – not at all unlike to such a “both-ended approach� as you recommend us. The resemblance is practically the same in German (danken [speak: duncan] = to thank, denken [speak: dencun] = to think). But just as I recently saw it in my native tongue only after stumbling across its relevance, I confess it was news for me again today.

    Thank you for making us think once more over the thinksgivingness of thanks.