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allthingsThanksgiving is special.  Away from the crowded big city, the farm gives me the ability to see tall trees, hear the wind blow, and observe magnificent sunsets.  I’m grateful for all things great and small, but now I’m especially grateful for having the desire to be thankful.

Research shows that those who give thanks are happier than those who aren’t thankful.  Scientists have discovered that thankful thoughts produce pleasure in the brain and thus stimulate areas of the brain regulating stress.  I’m all for that.  We can all use less stress.

In addition to less stress, gratitude provides a person with resilience.  Vietnam War veterans and survivors of 9/11 were able to manage their post-traumatic stress when they counted their blessings.

Patience and self-control are benefits, too.  College students who practiced an attitude of gratitude slept longer and better, and couples tend to be more committed to each other and remain in their relationships.

In short, thanksgiving is good for us, but the spiritual benefits of gratitude are even more significant.  When we stop to give thanks, those around us see our faith in practice giving power to our testimony.  As thanks are given, we are reminded that God is the source of it all.

In 1848, Cecil Frances Alexander wrote the hymn, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;−

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,−
He made them every one:

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;−

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

In all things great and small I am blessed beyond measure with family and friends who love me when I don’t deserve it.  I am blessed to feel the sore muscles after working on the farm because I know I’m still kicking.  I am blessed to have the ability to give freely. I am blessed to weathered storms in my life that God has brought me through, for without those storms I wouldn’t know how to comfort others.  I am blessed to live in a great country, even in spite of our problems.  I could go on and on … I bet you could, too.

 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”          (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Tagged: all things great and small, gratitude, less stress, peace, resilience, Thanksgiving

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