As a child I was always made to write thank you letters for Christmas and birthday presents. I recall the struggle I had to encourage my own children to do so, not always successfully I confess. Yet I am sure many of us know the joy of receiving a hand written thank you note, it really gives a warm glow. And equally I know the pleasure of having written short notes of gratitude.
Scientists have tried to measure the benefits of gratitude. At a university in America, psychologist David DeSteno, in a piece of work designed to measure the impact of being thankful, discovered that gratitude leads directly to acts of kindness and generosity! So not only does the recipient of the thank you note benefit, but also the writer of the note becomes more positive and hopeful.
The Bible is full of ‘Give thanks’, I am particularly fond of a passage in Philippians,
”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
The benefit to us of prayer, with thanksgiving, is the priceless protection given by the peace of God.
So the next time someone does something kind for us, or gives us a gift, let’s remember to say, or write, ‘thank you’, because gratitude benefits us as well as others.
In the words of a song by Don Moen:
“Give thanks with a grateful heart”
Gratitude is an attitude worth cultivating this year.
May God’s light and life, and the joy and peace of the New Year, be with any readers of An Tirisdeach who welcome it, Elspeth. (Rev Elspeth MacLean, Tiree Parish Church, tel 220377.)