I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)
There is a habit in the Arabic language which of late has gone out of fashion. Ask an elder how they are and often the answer will be any variation of “thank God” or “praise God”.
Recently I was at a professional development day. A bleak picture was being painted about the mental health of my profession and a number of preventative suggestions were being made. One suggestion the presenter made was prefaced with, “I know this one may seem a bit religious”. She suggested we write down three things we are grateful for each day over for 21 days. She prefaced the comment with “I know it may seem a bit religious’ because it is the cornerstone of many religious practice to worship and give thanks to God for his blessings. In our Christian faith thanksgiving and praise always go together. We cannot adequately praise and worship God without also being thankful. My colleagues and I took up the habit and began sending to each other every day three things we were grateful for. It is a general attitude changer.
Take up a gratitude exercise with your family in your home in the lead up to Christmas. It may be for a week, 21 days or the whole of the Christmas season. At dinner go around the table and ask each person to name three things they are grateful to God for. You might do it for 2 or three nights a week.
Our commercialised world, encourages our families to focus on what we don’t have and what we can get this Christmas. Giving thanks reminds us of how much we do have. Focusing on blessings rather than wants makes us happier. Thanking God for the things we take for granted, and reminding ourselves continually of his blessings changes our perspective. Recognising our blessings reminds us of God’s existence and His mercy.