Cultivate thankfulness this holiday season

| November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

Footsteps in Faith

Bartels

 

Chaplain (Maj.) Jeff Bartels
Operations and Plans Chaplain
U.S. Army Pacific Theater
FORT SHAFTER — Happy Thanksgiving! This time of year draws festive occasions, lots of food, family and friends.

It can also be a time of great reflection, sitting around the table and perhaps sharing some thanks.

Well, in those moments and in the spirit of thanks, I’d invite you to consider how “thankfulness” can be more than a one-time occasion of reflection culminating at the end of November.

Cultivation
Thankfulness can be cultivated. Just as a plant is cultivated to grow, thankfulness can be cultivated. Just as plants bring nourishment, so can thankfulness nourish.

Colossians 3:15 states, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful” (NKJV). The same text concludes, “And cultivate thankfulness”(The Message).

Thankfulness doesn’t come naturally. We have to cultivate it, nurture and develop it.

While thankfulness does take work, the rewards are well worth the effort. Studies have shown that being thankful improves our physical and emotional health. Harboring feelings of thankfulness can boost our immune system and increase blood supply to our hearts. Cultivating thankfulness honors God and those we encounter, work with, family and friends, and ultimately impacts our community.

Ironically, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to be thankful and negative at the same time. When it seems that complaints are overwhelming, making a deliberate decision to focus instead on being thankful can counteract the attitude.

Thankfulness to-dos
Here are a few ways to counter the complaining and cultivate thankfulness:

1) Make an intentional effort;
2) Pen some things down that offer thankfulness, i.e., family, friends, a pet or pets, a car, home, job, etc.; and
3) Focus specifically on an item from the list and reflect upon the unique ways to be thankful.

This simple exercise can allow the opportunity to truly value those things in life. In order to grow in this thankfulness, encouragement is necessary. So, try to encourage that effort or perhaps have others encourage the same effort.

Just as the seedling grows into a nourishing plant, it takes an enriching effort to grow and cultivate thankfulness. So, try out those green thumbs and cultivate some thankfulness.

“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God,
and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer
but richer for having made it.”
                                                           — A. W. Tozer

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