The Transformative Power of Gratitude

Gratitude focuses on what we have. Complaining on what we lack. There is a reason to complain every day and some days every hour. Recently I was moved by the Spirit, however, to notice how thanksgiving keeps the sun shining in life, reduces the number and duration of grey days we feel, and brings emotional healing when the complexities and pains of life cannot be kept at bay.

piglet_gratitudeA few days of vacation afforded the

opportunity to not only attend the wedding of a family member, but to find space with friends to focus on fun. These kinds of activities inevitably lead me to deeper conversations with my Eternal Friend, Jesus Christ. I hope you will listen in.

Weddings highlight the hope of future joy. At the same time it engenders the best of thoughts, attitudes, and actions in the lives of those gathered to celebrate. Generally, weddings bring out the best in people and suppress the not so good in everyone’s personality.

The common thread, of course, at a wedding is the bride and groom. The disparate groups they pull together to celebrate can be quite amazing. And, they can lead to a number of unmet expectations. One person’s definition of fun or teasing is another’s embarrassment or bane. Familiarity on the part of gregarious outgoing attendee’s may be received as inappropriate, rude, or disrespectful.

Parents of the young bride and groom are clear about the expense their respective roles require. While invited guests are not always as cognizant of the expense incurred by others, it is hard for them to overlook the financial sacrifice their own attendance brings. Hotel rooms are rented, airline tickets purchased, gas tanks filled again and again, cars rented, restaurants visited, and wedding gifts purchased. Together, they can have a significant impact on vacations, birthdays, holidays, and other items purchased (or not) in the same calendar year.

Throw in a child getting sick miles and miles from home, the concern a person in the wedding party may get sick before the service, or that a beloved friend or family member may not arrive because of the weather, illness, or accident and the stress can cause a very uncomfortable strain on the festivities. Nevertheless, the desire to please others, to join and increase the joy of the couple and their wedding party, and not to be a distraction or any kind of wet blanket on a singularly special occasion creates an enormous braking action to all possible negativity. Simply put, thankfulness for two special people and faith their future together will be bright brings healing in the midst of frustration and pain.

Thanksgiving can do so much more. It can bring healing in many dimensions. Ten men with a skin disease feared nearly as much as Ebola today, approached Jesus begging to be healed. Jesus granted their requests, but only one did more than enjoy the blessing. Only one recognized the blessing came from Jesus and returned to praise God. He recognized he was healed by God. His return praising God was an act of faith in Jesus as God which led to more than physical healing. His faith restored both his body and soul.

May our words and actions Thanksgiving Day bring more than full stomachs and full hearts. God waits for our praise, thanksgiving, and glory for the physical blessings we have in order to bless our souls.

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