On Thanksgiving Day, Americans flock to the dining room table—and subsequently the big, comfy couch—in the name of showing our gratitude for the abundance we’re privileged enough to enjoy. But as we all know, turkey and candied yams aren’t required for us to be grateful. We have so much for which to be thankful! Here are some ways to show it every day….
Smile. At your family, your coworkers, strangers. Smile at the bus driver, the cashier, the guy crossing the street while you wait at the stop sign. That outward projection of inner joy might be the simplest, clearest way to show you’re delighted just to have another day on earth.
Pray. For the most part, we know from childhood to say “please” and “thank you” to the people with whom we interact. But how often do we remember to thank God, the one without whom we’d have none of this wonderful world? We can never thank God enough, and that’s OK. A simple prayer—a thank-you from the bottom of your heart—is all God wants to hear.
Give. If you’re reading these words, there’s a likelihood you have a pretty good life and have been provided with more than you need. All of us here at Franciscan Media know we have! What among our things can we give to others? What money, resources, and possessions do we take for granted that could be the difference-maker for someone else?
Serve. One of the greatest things we can do for others is to give of our time. Whether it’s handing out meals in a soup kitchen or lending an ear to a friend in need, service is a powerful way to walk with Christ and bear grateful witness.
Share. Even those who are materially poor are often rich in wisdom and experience, two gifts that can be easily overlooked. What knowledge have you amassed that might change the life of a young person? What hard-learned lessons can you lovingly impart to show your thanks for all that life has taught you?
Love. We have what we have because God loves us. It’s really that simple. And we have the power to reflect, and magnify, that love in our relationships with others.
Remember. Family and friends are the most beautiful blessings God gives us. When you’ve lost a loved one, you can celebrate cherished memories as a sign of how much you valued that person’s place in your life and how much richer your life is as a result.
Remind. It’s easy to fall into a rut of negativity, especially when people close to you are struggling. And who among us hasn’t struggled these last two years? Sometimes we all need a little nudge, a reminder of how good we really do have it. So go ahead and vent and commiserate—but don’t forget to balance it with a reminder: thousands of things go right for each of us every day.
Write. The idea of a gratitude journal is nothing especially new, but the reason it’s been around so long is because it’s a good idea! Each day, jot down at least one thing for which you’re thankful. Chances are that once you get in the habit, you won’t want to stop.
Speak. We saved the most obvious one for last! It’s so basic, but so impactful. Say “thank you” as often as humanly possible. Really, do you ever get tired of hearing those words?