Choose Gratitude

Australian novelist Morris West suggests that at a certain age our lives simplify, and we need have only three phrases left in our spiritual vocabulary: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

      English minister John Henry Jowett once observed, “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” What better cure for what ails society today—choosing to have a grateful heart!

      Who knew? For a long time, gratitude wasn’t even listed in the Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, a standard psychology text. Today, new studies by social scientists reveal what others have taught for centuries—gratitude is an indispensable demonstration of virtue and an integral component to living strong.

Is your own soul overflowing with gratitude? If not, why not?

      Perhaps it’s easier to whine about what’s gone wrong. Or to never intentionally notice all that has been already received. Last Christmas, a short video aimed at the commercialization of the holidays went viral. In it a man awakens wrapped as a package and thanks God for the gift of life. Then he looks down and sees his feet wrapped up and thanks God for shoes. His kids come running in covered in wrapping paper and he thanks God for his family. Well, you get the idea—we already have so many gifts for which to be thankful! But are we grateful for them?

      What will you thank God for today? “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.” (James 1:17) Sadly, it never occurs to many people that God is the One we thank; “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank,” wrote G. K. Chesterton.

      Anyone can grow a grateful heart with practice. Just decide that you will try to follow the biblical command to “always be thankful” Colossians 3:15. If you can’t be thankful for what happened, be grateful for God’s provision of His presence and peace in the midst of whatever happened.

      I’m glad I was trained from a young age to notice. I actually have a crumpled copy of a “Thankful List” I created at age twelve in which I clearly listed 70 different things I was thankful for—all in categories, no less!

      As you are growing up, don’t forget to be grateful.

Lord, as George Herbert once prayed, “Thou that hast given so much to me, give one thing more,—a grateful heart.” May I choose to see all of life as a gift from Your providential hand, and may I never stop thanking You. Amen.

         May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit  bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell      www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

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2 Comments

  1. Maggie Wallem Rowe on November 24, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Love that first quote, we all need to be vaccinated with gratitude as well as concern for our neighbors. And when we regularly practice gratitude, it becomes a way of life rather than a daily choice. Thank you for this post, Cindy.

  2. sarah on November 24, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    So good, Cindy. I love those first two quotes, esp Jowett’s. A vaccination, an antitoxin, and an anteseptic. Yes. I needed to hear this today. Happy Thanksgiving, friend!

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