Have you ever gone out in the middle of the winter and opted to wear only one glove? Didn’t think so. It just wouldn’t make sense.
Have you ever seen a bird with only one wing? Makes it pretty difficult to fly, right?
It’s the same thing with gratitude and thanksgiving. You really can’t have one without the other. Whenever you possess the quality of gratitude and experience the feeling it brings, it’s a natural inclination to express this by giving thanks and showing appreciation.
I’m not sure why people tend to wait until the holiday season to express their gratitude through thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the warmth that comes along with a fire or the smell of baking in the oven that inspires people to come closer together and be more open with what’s on their hearts. I’d like to suggest that we shouldn’t wait until the holidays to possess an attitude of gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude is something we can practice on a daily basis throughout the entire year.
G.K. Chesterton once said “when it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Now that’s a statement that causes conviction. So often I find myself getting caught up complaining about things or circumstances that others might actually consider a blessing. Think of what a better place our world would be if we all made a conscious effort to act with thanksgiving and demonstrate our gratitude.
Expressing gratitude through acts of thanksgiving need not be complex, difficult, or expensive. There are several simple ways we can demonstrate our gratitude to others.
- Write a handwritten note of thanks – National Hand-Writing Day is celebrated annually on January 23, but why wait until next year to write a quick note? Write a simple note of thanks to someone who’s made a difference in your life, or someone who recently helped you out. Even if it’s just one specific sentence of something they did that made a difference to you, the sentiment comes from your heart, and that will make someone’s day brighter.
- Do something thoughtful – whether it’s making lunch for a friend, buying a coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru lineup, or surprising someone with a few flowers, sincere acts of thoughtfulness can have a lasting impact.
- Listen – This is a big one. Ever found yourself formulating your next sentence while you’re in conversation? Yeah, try not doing that for once and truly absorbing what your friend or family member has to say. You might be surprised at the significance of your sincerity.
- Smile – Seriously, people. It costs nothing, and it makes complete sense – smiling is so much easier than stink-face.
I’ll close with this thought from John Fitzgerald Kennedy (aka the 35th President of the Unite States of America, known to his friends and family as “Jack”): “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” It’s as much a challenge for me writing this, as it is for you reading.