“Do you still look out your study window each morning and give thanks?” asked my grandson, his question being drawn from memories of childhood.
Allow me to explain.
During one of the most difficult periods of my life, I started this early appointment to give thanks because of the following wise words of A.W. Tozer, the well known writer of Christian classics: “Now as a cure for the sour faultfinding attitude, I recommend the cultivation of the habit of thankfulness. The heart that is constantly overflowing with gratitude will be safe from attacks of resentfulness and gloom,” adding: “Thanksgiving has great curative powers.”
Tozer’s claim of the healing power of thanksgiving came to my attention when I was struggling with health issues so I decided to test it, giving birth to my continuing early morning treks to my study window to start my day with an attitude of gratitude.
When our grandchildren came to stay overnight, they knew where they could find me at first light and soon after I arrived at my praising place, the soft sound of slippers on tiny feet would alert me to the arrival of one or more of them heading into my study where they stood beside me as I gave thanks for my blessings.
Members of a wagon train heading west on the Oregon Trail were confident and optimistic. Then reality arrived. Water became hard to find. Wagons broke down,
and with these difficulties came a change in mood of this company of travelers.
They became edgy, angry and discouraged. Tempers flared as conflicts over their obstacles divided former friends. The trip seemed longer and more discouraging every day, so in order to keep from self-destructing, this gloomy group decided to call a meeting to air their complaints and try to resolve their conflicts.
When the meeting was about to begin, someone made a suggestion that lifted the clouds covering this company of complainers and enabled them to recapture their dreams. “Before we do anything else,” he said, “I think we should thank God that we have come this far with no loss of life and strength enough to finish our journey.”
After giving thanks for things they had been taking for granted, an opportunity for voicing complaints was given but it was greeted with silence. Thanksgiving had turned their minds from problems to praise and sent them on their way with their vision renewed and the confidence to achieve it.
A troubled minister once called asking how he could find peace during a time of conflict in his church and personal life. “Try giving thanks!” I advised.
And my advice was born out of experience.
Thanksgiving is a powerful, healing, life changing attitude mentioned 140 times in the Bible. “It is good to give thanks to the LORD,” said the Psalmist (Psalm 92:1).
Abraham Lincoln saw thankfulness as a means of binding up the nation’s wounds following the Civil War and his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863 reveals this.
Cultivating thanksgiving would create a civil climate in most homes, ending family conflicts and bringing peace.