The Importance of Gratitude
As we approach the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving, gratitude is a strong theme. However, the importance of gratitude is not just a seasonal consideration. The Bible urges us in countless places to give thanks to God. But sometimes this is easier said than done.
Is our gratitude instinctual? Or is it just something we participate in when we are reminded that it is part of our duty as Christians? How do we get to a place where gratitude is inherent and present in all that we do, without feeling obligatory or like it takes deliberate consideration? What about when life is not going so well, and we find it difficult to be grateful for the hardships and storms that have entered a particular season of life?
One approach may be to examine what you are grateful and actively giving thanks for. Our relationships, our careers, our time and our possessions are all big things that seem easy to offer up gratitude in terms of.
But what about being grateful for the little things? The importance of gratitude exists in the small moments as well. Hearing the birds chirp. The first sip of coffee in the morning. In terms of the importance of gratitude, it is actually pretty essential that we train ourselves to be thankful for these small moments.
Why is that? As Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
In other words, when we can learn to be grateful for the small things, we are putting ourselves in a mindset where we can encounter exciting moments of awe, revelations, and we experience appreciation for life.
Which takes us back to the original questions proposed above. When challenges arise, if we are already trained to be grateful for the small things, we will not feel like the rug has been pulled from under us. Even in the midst of hardship we can find so many things to be grateful for, allowing us to see a bigger picture that joy is always possible and awe exists everywhere. God provides endless “every day epiphanies.” It is up to us to recognize them by being grateful at all times.