A few years ago, a cousin of ours passed away at a very young age. I’ll never forget the peace that I felt at his funeral as members of our family spoke of his love for light, the beauty of the earth, and most especially Veggie Tales. One of his favorite songs was “The Thankfulness Song”, which our whole family knew by heart from watching the classic Madame Blueberry episode countless times as kids (“stuuuufff maaaart”). The lyrics of the song are so precious and remind me of him when I sing it to myself or think about the words:
I thank God for this day
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart
I’m glad for what I have
That’s an easy way to start
For the love that He shares
‘Cause He listens to my prayers
That’s why I say thanks every day
I love the example of my little cousin of having a grateful heart! Gratitude is a thought pattern; an attitude or way of being that translates into feelings of hope, love, tenderness, peace, and thankfulness. I have found that thinking grateful thoughts can combat almost any negative thoughts and feelings I’m faced with. Whether I’m discouraged, angry, sad, or uneasy, choosing to think grateful thoughts lifts me above my circumstances and gives me a higher and exalted perspective.
D&C 78:19 reads: “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.”
I think it’s actually pretty simple to have a thankful heart. It’s a practice of “living in Thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38). Thinking grateful thoughts translates into gracious actions. We can start by verbally expressing thanks to everyone, always writing thank you notes and sending them in the mail (everybody LOVES mail!), and letting our Father in Heaven know, through prayer, what fills us with joy and thanksgiving. God seems to magnify the good around me when I acknowledge Him in all things and express gratitude to Him daily in prayer. I’d love to know how you practice having a grateful heart, not just during this holiday season, but all the time! We can choose live in thanksgiving every day until it becomes part of who we are, and our thankful hearts will be happy hearts!