By Grant Kaul, Senior Pastor

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.

Have you considered just how great a difference gratitude makes in a person’s life?  The evidence is impressive.  A growing body of research has tied an attitude of gratitude with a number of positive emotional and physical health benefits.  A November 23, 2010 article in The Wall Street Journal summarized the research:

“Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy, or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to viral infections.”

“Now, researchers are finding that gratitude brings similar benefits in children and adolescents. Studies also show that kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches, and feel more satisfied with their friends, families, and schools than those who don’t.”

The researchers concluded, “A lot of these findings are things we learned in kindergarten or our grandmothers told us, but now we have scientific evidence to prove them. The key is not to leave it on the Thanksgiving table.”

Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.  As we learn to give thanks in everything, God’s will is accomplished, people are appreciated, God is glorified, and we are blessed in far greater ways than we may have imagined.  Christ is the Author and Perfecter of our faith and gratitude helps us savor His grace in the story of our lives.  His work in us and through us continues as we grow to express gratitude.  The best way to prepare for Thanksgiving is to practice it each day along the way.