Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy ThanksLiving

"Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly." ~ Henri Nouwen - Dutch priest and author

It's hard to imagine this kind of gratitude, isn't it.  This quote from Henri Nouwen certainly reinforces the truth, gratitude is an attitude involving a conscious choice, it is not just a reaction.  Choose gratitude even when your feelings are less than joyful.  Choose to be grateful instead of complaining.  Choose to speak about goodness, even when you are longing to accuse.  This is the discipline of gratitude.  These are the exercises in the regime of a happy and joyful life.  Sure, life is tough and bad things happen, but you can decide how it is you respond.

"The careless soul receives the Father's gifts as if it were a way things had of dropping into his hand... yet he is ever complaining, as if someone were accountable for the problems which meet him at every turn. For the good that comes to him, he gives no thanks - who is there to thank? At the disappointments that befall him he grumbles - there must be someone to blame!" ~ George Macdonald

George Macdonald was considered by C.S. Lewis to be his master and was an inspiration to J.R.R. Tolkien.  Can you imagine being a fly on the wall during brandy and cigars in that parlor?  George calls it carelessness to accept God's gifts as if they are expected.  It is careless to complain and grumble, as if the problems we come to meet in this walk of life should be considered unexpected.  Choose your attitude in this time on Earth.  Will you have an attitude of gratitude for the generous gifts you have received?  Or will you be a complainer, grumbling at the disappointments that are common in life?  

(On the night he was robbed:) "I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed." ~ Matthew Henry

Wow, you may think Matthew was a "Pollyanna" in his attitude of gratitude, but when you think about it carefully, you can see the benefit.  Finding the blessings in a terrible situation doesn't change the situation.  Finding the blessings and taking an attitude of being grateful for those blessings changes you.  Being robbed is a terrible thing.  It's unfair.  It's wrong.  It's a violation.  Yet, grumbling or anger or fear or bitterness after the fact is not something inflicted on you by the robber.  It's something you inflict upon yourself.  Finding the blessings in a terrible experience can be very healing.  I learned this after my house was broken in Hurricane Irene.

A thankful person tastes joy twice.  Once when something joyful happens and again when gratitude is expressed to God for the joy.

God wants us to be grateful and respond with thanks every day of our lives.  In I Thessalonians 5:18 Paul reminds us, "No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

My wish is for everyone of my readers and those I love to experience ThanksLiving every day of their lives.  Can you imagine the changes we would see in this world?  Lord, let this change begin with me.

Happy ThanksLiving everyone!

Please continue to keep the housekeeper from my building in your prayers.  Evidently she is not improving, as hoped.  She is in critical condition and on a respirator.  This is very dangerous for anyone, but especially an elderly person.

I'm traveling for the holiday.  I hope to be able to share good news when I return.  I trust, no matter what the future holds, God is good.

691.  My warm comfortable bed
692.  The hot water in my shower
693.  A blow-dryer and big round brush
694.  The option to eat breakfast, if I want to 
695.  My parents (even though they are a little bit crazy)
696.  My brothers and their wives and children (we are a very blessed family)
697.  A reliable car to take us on a 900 mile trip to have Thanksgiving with my parents
698.  Having my son join us on this trip
699.  Readers covering a person they don't even know in prayer (I can feel your prayers, thank you)
700.  Finding out that the purpose of gratitude and thankfulness is to increase the joy in my life


  1. i love that matthew henry quote...we have much to be thankful for...that is for sure..even in our darkest circumstances....hope you and yours have a great thanksgiving...

  2. Travel safe, lady, and have a marvelous Thanksgiving!

  3. I'm worried about that lady - so sad.  Happy Thanksgiving - safe travels.

  4. give thanks in all circumstances.....what a great perspective for life.
    happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. Happy belated Thanksgiving, friend!!!


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