The concept of gratitude is on the minds of many, particularly during this holiday season. But the practice of gratitude—which is really a daily moment of reflecting and giving thanks—has become a topic that even mental health experts advocate for as a form of self-care. Taking a moment to give thanks is good for the soul. During this time of year when being thankful makes many conversational rounds, we asked staff members from the Chesapeake Conference and Columbia Union Conference to tell us about their thoughts on gratitude and what they are most thankful for at present. We hope reading their words will inspire you to stop for even the smallest things, and give thanks to our Creator.—Editors.
Learning about God’s love and generosity inspires me to emulate Jesus Christ by loving Him and living generosity. I am so grateful for God’s creative love, salvation, sense of purpose, and inspiration to serve others.
During the most difficult times of life, it is sometimes difficult to feel grateful. However, once I get through the trial, I have always been able to look back and see how, even though I couldn’t see it at the time, God was taking care of me and carrying me through and on to better things. As time has passed and I have experienced His ways more and more, I can now practice gratitude during the trial because I know that I can trust Him to provide for all my needs. I am eternally grateful for a God who loves me with everlasting love and for my family.
The practice of gratitude in the Christian life reminds us that life is a gift. God’s gift to us began with His detailed beauty of creation and extended to the sacrificial gift of His Son, Jesus. Because of this amazing gift, we have been gifted with grace and mercy, as well as the gift of salvation. Gratitude is essential to our well-being; if you are never grateful, you can become bitter and disillusioned, changing your outlook on life. God’s provision and love for us all came before we knew His name or understood a glimpse of the magnitude of His love. I am grateful because although I may not fully understand the big picture for my life, my God is in control of everything!
I am most grateful for people—family, surrogate family, friends, strangers. I learn from everyone I encounter: sometimes I learn things that can uplift me, and sometimes I learn things that are not needed in my life. For each person God has allowed to impact my life, there have been lessons to grow me positively. I look at Joseph and his many encounters, and to my amazement, Joseph through the storms experienced extreme growth. Instead of becoming bitter and manifesting hurt and pain, he realized God’s plan for his life was bigger. I focused on Joseph because each of these four groups I am grateful for hurt Joseph in some way and blessed Joseph as well. Everyone isn’t perfect, but God can use people to bring about some blessing on the path of life.
I believe it’s important [to give thanks], because we go through life, and sometimes it can be hard, discouraging, and emotional, but if we take the time to reflect on the blessings—whether great or small—we are reminded of God’s love for us. Gratitude or counting our blessings provides peace and gives us the strength to push through difficult times and trust God. That way our smiles and joy can be our testimony. I am most grateful for my relationship with God. I can go to Him with anything, and He will listen and direct my path. It is the most freeing and comforting feeling.
H. Candace Nurse
I believe that gratitude keeps you aware of all the blessings you have, and therefore your perspective of life changes: you are happy, and depression goes away. If we are grateful, we will be happy Christians, and it will be easier to show Jesus through our lives. Right now I’m very thankful for my family.