Gratitude means ‘thankful’ but even more than that, the word ‘gratitude’ can be traced back through the languages of French and Latin to discover it shares the same origin as the word ‘Grace.’
Is it any wonder, then, that simply closing ones’ eyes and experiencing thankfulness makes us feel good? How lovely it is to think about something we are grateful for—for just thinking about it makes us feel better, calmer, and more at peace.
This inner peacefulness we feel when we experience gratitude is not all in our head (though it may be in our heart!). Scientists who study the effects of gratitude can show in concrete terms how gratefulness helps our wellbeing in many ways. It helps us feel better, sleep better, and perform better in our jobs. Gratitude also improves our relationships, eases depression & pain, and boosts our immune systems.
Is it any wonder then that the words ‘Grace’ and ‘Gratitude’ are related! Gratitude and thankfulness, then, are a way to experience Grace.
For our fall Stewardship Drive our theme is ‘Four Weeks of Gratitude.’ During October, we will be invited to simply be grateful as we reflect with thankfulness on all our many blessings. We have been given so much by God’s Grace! In the rush of daily living, we too often miss the moments when we can simply be glad for what we have and be at peace.
Gratitude can be practiced, like prayer. For four weeks, we will invite gratitude into our lives by practicing it. This will be an opportunity not only to deepen our own connection to God’s gifts in our lives, but such practice is also very Methodist–Gratitude helps us move on to Perfection! When we feel peace and gratefulness for something, we are simultaneously experiencing the power of God’s Grace. Every blessing, every hope, every happiness, every Good thing comes from God. Experiencing Grace and practicing Gratitude literally brings us closer to God, closer to Godliness, and closer to a shared peace.
Perfection, wrote Wesley, “is `perfect love.’ (1 John 4:18.) This is the essence of it…rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, and in everything giving thanks. (1 Thess. 5:16.)” What, I ask you, can we be more grateful for than this?