As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few words.
Across the nation, we are experiencing unrest and division. As events continue to unfold in the wake of the election, the usual celebratory spirit of the holiday may feel more difficult to achieve. We may even feel that the unrest has made its way into our own homes, straining our relationships with friends or family members. We may feel that we don’t have the usual energy for celebrations of thankfulness. Many Americans even feel unsafe this holiday season, finding the reasons for gratitude difficult.
However, I urge you, even during this challenging time, do not forsake the discipline of gratitude. It is more important now than ever, to practice our gratitude daily with purpose and intention. Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness has a real impact on our daily lives. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude each day can and will improve mental and physical well-being, reduce depression, and alleviate stress. Practicing gratitude also has a ripple effect, promoting a spirit of positivity through our interactions with others that exponentially shares goodwill. Paying it forward keeps us connected.
And more important, it is biblical. As the scripture says in Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil 4:6) Our creator God, who still remains sovereign, has imbued the act of thankfulness with the power to make a positive impact – and He expects us to practice it, faithfully, even when our circumstances make gratitude feel irrelevant or out of reach. God directs us to choose thanksgiving over anxiety each day.
Gratitude is not a panacea that will smooth over the fractured landscape of our anxieties. It will not immediately heal divisions or release the strains that may exist in our home. But living each day practicing gratitude will help us to remain focused on our mission as we direct our energy toward the work that is before us. And it may allow God to work in our hearts and lives in ways we do not even recognize.
This season, more than ever, we must remember that gratitude has power. I urge you to focus on living thankfulness through and in all of your circumstances this week and every week.
We wish you and your family a safe, joyous, and purposeful Thanksgiving holiday.
The Reverend Luis Cortes, Jr. [/full_width]