We can work on being thankful two or three ways.
First: The English word “thank”
“Thank” developed itself out of the older word “think.” So as we think about thanks this week, let’s be sure we really do – think. How do you do it? Talking about it is not necessarily real thankfulness.
But thinking WITH feeling often is. And it might actually take a few moments of focus. When you’re with family, deliberately pause your mind or mouth (or attention to the tv) for a minute or two (literally) to just welcome, in your heart, these people, and hold, in your mind, the worth and uniqueness of each in and of themselves.
Giving thanks, after all, is not a performance for some sort of spiritual credit. It’s not for others’ observation; it’s about our own heart and values.
Let’s join in just thoughtfully appreciating. And not only family, but “all these blessings!” – of which there are many.
Second: If we love, we will be thankful.
See, it goes a step further. This is from one of my favorite philosophers: “What is not effectually known is precisely what is not adequately loved.” – R. E. Cushman
If we love, we will be thankful for what we love. And if we love, we will know better what we love, and thus be even more thankful. 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.
Third: Mention these things. To God, and to other people.
Actually, especially with God, do more than mention them. Have yourself a fairly serious little conversation. Bring the attention, love, and thinking-that-becomes-thanks all to bear.
You know, “being thankful” is not exactly the same as “giving thanks.” Giving thanks implies that there is some other person (or Person) to whom you are expressing your thankfulness. There are persons to whom we should express thankfulness. And to God we should express thankfulness. It means you have thought about it and it really matters to you!
Some people make a habit of writing down 5 things near the end of every day that they are thankful for in that day. That might be a good habit to practice through the month of November, our Thanksgiving month.
Being thankful (“think-ful”) is a very productive, healing, focusing, uplifting exercise.
And we CAN do it! Let’s.
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