Is it any wonder that, after Christmas, Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of Americans? For most of us, it’s a cherished ritual, an opportunity to gather with family and friends over a few drinks and a big traditional meal.
What’s especially important about Thanksgiving is the powerful idea behind the holiday: it’s a time to express gratitude and give thanks.
The life philosopher John Templeton believed strongly in the power of gratitude and its ability to act like a powerful magnet. In his words “the more we are grateful for what we have, the more will be given to us.” Think about that:
The more we give thanks, the more we will have to be thankful for.
Templeton believed that as we give our love and show our appreciation to others, the good we put out into our world flows right back to us. It can help us attract “love, joy, opportunity, health, friends, material good. As we appreciate every blessing, life will open up to us in new and wondrous ways.”
Pause for a moment and ask yourself: “What am I thankful for?”
It’s the essence of what can become a Thanksgiving tradition for you, your family and your friends: the prayer of gratitude. It’s a straightforward prayer to God, or whatever higher power you believe in, and it goes like this:
“I give thanks (to God) for all the good in my life. I am thankful for….”
On Thanksgiving, you can complete this thought by giving thanks for the meal in front of you. Thank the friends and family around you for their kindness, their companionship, their sacrifices. You can also give thanks for any recent good fortune in your own life, even if it’s something as simple as your continued good health and well-being.
The next step is to send this prayer around the table.
Ask each person to chime in with what they’re thankful for. You’ll find this simple group prayer has a way of uplifting everyone’s spirits. Even after Thanksgiving, the benefits of giving daily thanks and praise are immense.
When you start each morning with a prayer of gratitude, you’ll notice the benefits almost immediately. Not only will you feel better about yourself and the world around you, you’ll find that (quoting Templeton), “living a life of appreciation and gratefulness leads to having more to be thankful for”.
I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving—and leave you with the fitting words of the 12th century philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart and his thoughts on prayer:
If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it will be enough.
Don’t think you have anything to be thankful for? Read this Thanksgiving column from the Wake Up Call archives.