“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” — Meister Eckhart —
Gratitude means being thankful, counting your blessings, appreciating small pleasures, noticing beauty all around you and acknowledging everything you receive. It means living life as if everything were a miracle, and being consistently aware of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your attention from what is lacking in your life to all the good that is already present. Being grateful is truly a game-changer. Researchers Michael McCollough and Robert Emmons discovered that giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, and that it strengthens relationships, improves health and reduces stress. Gratitude is a life-enhancing practice.
Well-known author Melody Beattie tells us, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Who doesn’t want all of that?
How do we get there? By consistently practicing gratitude. Most of us think about giving thanks when we feel especially blessed and at holiday times, but how much more it can enhance our lives when it is a daily practice. One of the tools you can use to cultivate a grateful attitude is to participate in our 40-Day Journey to Transformation Through Thanksgiving practice.
The number 40 has deep mystical and spiritual significance. It symbolizes the time it takes for a transformation to occur and is mentioned frequently in scriptural stories of transformation. Examples are Moses and the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years before arriving at the Promised Land, Goliath taunting the Israelites for 40 days before David stepped forth to slay him, and Jesus being tempted for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his ministry.
With this in mind, we created a journal to help you experience the transformative power of 40 through 40 days of thanksgiving. If you are already participating, congratulations! If you have not begun yet, it is not too late. Just start now and continue for 40 days. Journals are available in the church lobby.
Keeping the 40-day journal of thanksgiving will help you see that your life is truly filled with blessings that often go unnoticed. As you open your eyes to see them, suddenly there are more! Be grateful for blessings (large and small) that you receive and also for the blessings you give. Be thankful for the blessings in challenges. Even if you cannot see a blessing in the challenge, give thanks for it anyway and the blessing will soon reveal itself.
We invite you to join us for the experience of The Gratitude Experiment: 40 Days of Thanksgiving. It is your chance to experience grace at a higher level and to open your life to an inflow of mighty currents of Good. Your practice of gratitude will set into motion an ancient spiritual law; the more grateful you are for what you have, the more you will receive.
Practice gratitude until it becomes a way of life. It is guaranteed to have life-enriching results.
— Rev. Carmen Rich Zappi