It is the season of thanksgiving. One popular hymn goes as such: “Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, and you’ll be singing as the days go by…..count your many blessings, see what God hath done.”
How do you show gratitude for the blessings, big and small, in your life? Do we recognize our blessings or do we feel that they are actually entitlements and question why we don’t have more?
Joseph B. Wirthlin explained why we sometimes don’t see all of our blessings. “…The more often we see the things around us- even the beautiful and wonderful things- the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world- the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds- even those we love… Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”
Crazy, eh? The more often we actually enjoy something, the less we appreciate it.
Modern philosophies tend to tell us that with work and a little effort, we are entitled to a job, food, shelter, support. In truth though, we have no entitlements, but are given blessings… all the way down to the opportunity to live another day.
In Luke chapter 17:12-19 is the story of Christ cleansing the 10 lepers. Though he offered this cleansing to all ten, only one turned back to personally relay his thanks, his sincere gratitude to Christ. He immediately recognized and appreciated the miracle that Christ had given. The other nine may have had thankfulness in their hearts, but they failed to act upon it at the time.
Do we show our thanks immediately or do we wait for something to kick us into gear… like an annual holiday?
I am grateful for so many things, among them are: my family, my friends, opportunity for good education, laughter, memories, the church, my beautiful home, sunrises/sunsets, books (oh, there are so many good books), music (that which I listen to, and what I can play), and all the chances to serve.
One way that I show my gratitude to my family is by trying to be a contributing member of the family. I do this by babysitting my little brothers on the weekdays, keeping the house clean so we can enjoy more family time and have fewer chores when my parents get home, and developing my talents to share with my family. My gratitude does not only strengthen my family, but it strengthens me.
Did you know that showing gratitude is actually the sign of a well-educated person? Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Be grateful… The habit of saying thank you is the mark of an educated man or woman.” Why is this? Think of your meals… someone bought them. Think of your activities… someone organized them and facilitated them. Think of your freedom… someone fought for it. All we have is we have is partly because of someone else. When we recognize this, we exhibit a higher understanding.
There are many opportunities all around us to share our gratefulness. Sharing a sincere thank you takes only 1/86,400 part of your day, and it brightens another person’s day significantly.
So I ask again, how do we acknowledge these blessings? Do we name them ‘one by one’ or say ‘I want that one, and I want that one’.