1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 – “ Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. NLT
In a season full of conspiracies, viruses, elections, and being told what you should and should not believe, our level of joy and thankfulness are likely at a low point for 2020. Our souls are designed to have a longing for a home that we are not in yet. When it all falls apart it can appear that all is lost. We start our November with All Saints Sunday, and we remember how short life is. We remember that this is not our home, and there is more to come. How do we live now, with hope and gratitude, for a future that we really cannot see?
Thanksgiving is always a season of being thankful. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to be thankful in all our circumstances. Did you know that there is a function of gratitude that actually helps the brain and increases our hope to life changing levels? In a June 2017 article for Greater Good Science Center, Doctors Joshua Brown and Joel Wong wrote about how our brain changes with gratitude. What happens when someone begins to journal daily, or even just write down what they are grateful for weekly, and how does it change them over time? Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions, helps even if you don’t share it, and has lasting effects on the brain. Being thankful has been known to increase the effectiveness of treatment for heart patients. Our toxic emotions and irritability become less of a problem, and over time our brains even perform better. Our sleep becomes better and even helps us to see the good in other people more.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life… It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melodie Beattie
As we go through November, we are going to look at what we can be thankful for, and turn our focus from the negative to the positive. I pray that you will join us on that journey and 2020 will become everything you thought it could be.
~ Pastor Mike