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Thankfulness is the act of recognizing and appreciating the benefits we receive or are about to receive. In the book of 1 Thessalonians, gratitude refers to the ability to show thanks and to be grateful for the things you have. Being thankful brings us closer to God by cultivating an awareness of the many blessings we have and helps us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives.

There are many reasons to be thankful during the holiday season, especially on Thanksgiving Day, but this sentiment should not be confined to a single day. Each day that we rise is reason enough to be thankful and an opportunity to express our gratitude to God for the gift of life and other blessings.

Poet Maya Angelou said, “Thank you, always say thank you; it’s the greatest gift you can give someone; because thank you is what you say to God.” She went on to encourage people to “be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

Thanksgiving Day, recognized each year on the fourth Thursday in November, is a time when families and friends gather together to celebrate the holiday with food, fun and fellowship. At my house, the Thanksgiving menu always consist of turkey and gravy, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie and chocolate cake. Our meal is always a feast everyone enjoys. But more importantly, it is a time when we give thanks for our many blessings and loved ones.

What are your Thanksgiving Day traditions? What are you thankful for in your life? Is it your health or the wellbeing of your family? Is it your friends? Perhaps you are thankful for God’s presence in your life and grateful knowing you can also depend upon him for strength during stressful times. As you approach this special day, start thinking about what the word thankfulness means to you. Do not wait until Thanksgiving Day. A good exercise is to think of three good things that have happened over the past year and reflect upon those memories and how they made you feel.

Research consistently shows that incorporating a regular gratitude practice into one’s daily routine can significantly increase happiness and overall well-being, especially during tough times and adversity. As always, Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Dr. Walter Ghosten