November is a time when we're called to give thanks for blessings in our life. Seasonally, it's a time of harvest, and the feast of Thanksgiving traditionally represents the bounty of the fields. But it's not always easy to abound with gratitude, especially if life doesn't seem to be going your way in this season.
Irving Berlin wrote and Bing Crosby sang the classic “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” for the 1954 movie, White Christmas. While it has become a song that is associated with Christmas, we think it is more appropriate for Thanksgiving. There is some wonderful advice contained in these lyrics: “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings, instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”
Did you know studies have linked gratitude with a variety of positive effects? In fact, studies show that grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others. Grateful individuals demonstrate less envy, materialism and self-comparison. Thankfulness improves self esteem, enhances relationships, quality of sleep and longevity. In short, if gratitude came in pill form, it would be deemed the miracle cure!
Don’t just count your blessings on Thanksgiving - write them down daily! Some days you may have to look deep for the "good" instead of focusing so much on the “bad”, but there is always something to be be grateful for. As Paul says in Philippians 4:4, 11-12:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ...11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
So, wherever or with whomever you spend your Thanksgiving, enjoy your day and count your blessings...and know we count each of you as one of our biggest blessings!