This Thursday and Friday is when America celebrates the holiday known as Thanksgiving. There are many aspects of this traditional holiday that are known in the international community – turkey dinners, American football, the story of the pilgrims, etc. I would like to focus, however, on what is at the core of this holiday.
We have so many reasons and opportunities to be thankful for what we have in life. I could fill a whole page just listing the wonderful attributes of Penang and living on this tropical island. I could fill another page listing the wonderful attributes of living in the Dalat community where people care about each other and learn from each other.
I am sure all of us are thankful for something in our lives, but as humans we tend to look at all the negative things around us and focus on them instead. Knowing this, the Bible, through various passages, encourages us to be thankful and to count our “blessings.” What is ironic about this is that if we do take the time to focus on our “blessings” and be thankful for them, this step in and of itself brings blessing. In an article about teaching children to be grateful, Dr. Caron Goode states, “Recent studies show that grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed. They also have higher self-esteem and better relationships.” **
This long weekend I would encourage us to take some time to reflect on what we can be thankful for, use the focus of the holiday to encourage gratitude in our children and families. If part of your list of blessings includes someone or something someone did for you, thank them before the weekend is up. On a weekend that is dedicated to giving thanks, let’s take the time to be thankful for those around us and to remember to let them know.