American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson exposed a curious side of human nature when he wrote:
“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”
That which is continually present becomes diminished, and loses its value in our minds. Or, in other words, what we constantly see, we stop seeing!
How easy to take for granted and stop appreciating the comfort of our homes, another meal on the table, a hot shower, or the presence of family and friends—because we experience them so often.
Emerson reminds us to stop and marvel at the things we wouldn’t want to live without—to be thankful.
Godly gratitude is a conscious response that not only recognizes our blessings, but also the source of them.
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:17 NLT)
How do we develop a lifestyle of gratitude?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Praise God. Need a starting point? Read Psalm 19. Considering the wonders of creation causes us to see the awesomeness of God—the One who holds our lives in His hands! Praising God lifts our minds off ourselves or our situation and allows us to view things from His perspective.
- Change your outlook. Take time each day to read God’s Word and fill your mind with His precious promises. You will most likely find something to be thankful for.
- Appreciate small blessings. Pause to give thanks for the little things throughout your day—the warmth of the sun, eyesight to see your loved ones, relaxing music. What joy we find in gratitude; what misery in complaining! Both are choices we make thought by thought.
Thankfulness allows us to live life to the fullest. What we have becomes enough, and more.
Gratitude turns an ordinary day into a celebration, a meal into a feast, a stranger into a friend.
What are you thankful for today?
 From the essay “Nature,” written by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1830.
Photo credit: Matthew Elton
Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Elton