Thankfulness Bears a Joyous New Year December 13, 2011

Are we really Thank-Full?  As the beautiful colors of fall capture our attention here in the Northwest, we suddenly realize “WOW, Where did the year go!?”  I love the outdoors and hiking, and it is often in God’s creation that my heart will remind me of how insanely awesome life is.  Upon returning from visiting foreign countries I always end up on my knees awestruck by how blessed we are to enjoy a life of freedom in this country.  And, the holidays are a time we can check in with ourselves.  Is our heart truly thank-full?

Our circumstances rarely drive us towards thanksgiving.  In fact, quite the opposite these days.  So, being intentional about “thank-full thinking” is a key to bring the joy and peace we are all seeking this holiday season.  The mall is not the answer, even though our kids and society may think in such ways.

Consider this, a life that is lived thankfully provides a foundation for deep intimacy with others and with God.  Remember the parable of the 10 lepers who were healed and only one returned to give thanks?  Clearly this story demonstrates that we often take our blessings for granted, even experiencing life’s miracles through an “entitlement” worldview.  Gratitude is highly valuable.

For emphasis, check in Luke 17 about those 10 lepers who were healed.  What were the other 9 thinking anyhow?  Jesus asked, “where are the other nine?” W e don’t know, but maybe:

Some were not sure if the cure was real.  Others were waiting to see if the healing would last.  One thought he would thank Jesus later. Another was in denial and decided that he had never had leprosy.  Still others rationalized they would have gotten well anyway.  Only one returned to thank Jesus.  A smart, happy guy.

Recent studies by Dr. Robert Emmons confirm that gratitude makes us smarter, and measurably happier… and we will live longer, healthier lives!  Hey, maybe we should wake up profoundly shocked by the many blessings around us each day.  Why, because that shock can lead to a joyful/humble heart.  Then, that joy will force the brain to slowly place a smile upon the face. Your face, and maybe even God’s.  Plus, a thankful heart is one that can reach out and encourage others!  So, some closing holiday suggestions for us: start a gratitude journal, make a gratitude list, and take a gratitude hike or walk.  And remember: conscious thankfulness can transform your life, so cultivate your gratitude attitude and put that smile on your face.

May you all enjoy a very Merry Christmas with a heart that is THANK-FULL, and full enough to spill into a very Joyous New Year.

Blessings to all,

Marty Miller – Exec. Director



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