“Everyday is a Day of Thanksgiving!” This song, recorded by Dr. Charles G. Hayes and The Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBosmwq3Ik0), is sung often in my home church and is a perennial favorite. The act of thanksgiving is very important for the maintenance of a balanced perspective, especially when we are enduring the storms of life. Even in our secular society, gratitude is recognized both anecdotally and empirically as a source of peace and joy when we can tap into it. In Christianity, however, gratitude is grounded in the God who makes all blessings possible. Additionally, thanksgiving helps us demonstrate to God our recognition of our everyday, “manna-and-quail” blessings (see the 16th chapter of Exodus). We can thank God often for the “big” blessings of “life, health, and a reasonable amount of strength,” and we can use mindfulness often to help us be grateful for the “little” blessings that occur moment by moment, such as a gentle breeze, an encouraging phone call from a friend, a smile from a stranger, or clean water to drink. Scripture leads us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 6:18).
That said, however, there is something truly special about this holiday of Thanksgiving. As a culture, we look forward to gathering with family and/or friends, enjoying a scrumptious spread of culinary masterpieces, and thereafter taking in some football, great conversation, neighborhood walk, or a nap! Although department stores and cyber sales are exerting great pressure to have us leave our tables and company earlier and earlier to get back to spending, let’s resist those messages and linger a little while longer enjoying the intangible blessings of this day. Take in all the hugs and kisses, laughter, tasty treats, and great stories your soul can bear. These are the gifts God gives to sustain and inspire us. So spread your gratitude–it’s contagious!!
À Votre Santé (“To Your Health”),
Tonya D. Armstrong, Ph.D., M.T.S.
Author of Blossoming Hope: The Black Christian Woman’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellness