Having a Grateful Heart

I wanted to share some of my thoughts during the past weekend as I celebrated Thanksgiving. It started with learning a little historical background of the holiday in my French class. The first recorded Thanksgiving on Canadian soil was given by Martin Frobisher in 1587 when he set foot on the shores of Newfoundland. There were several ships that made the exploration voyage and in spite of the perils of the journey, only one was lost. For that, Frobisher asked their chaplain to hold a service to give thanks to God for their safety. This was not an uncommon practice at that time. Holding a thanksgiving service in order to give gratitude for what God has done in the lives of the community was a frequent occurrence that has fallen to disuse in this last century or so. Still, it was decreed in 1957 by the Canadian government to set aside some time, the 2nd Monday in October, to give “A day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed…” (from Wikipedia)

We somehow journeyed from giving thanks several times a year and having a grateful heart, knowing from Whom we received our blessings, to turkey and football and self-centeredness. But, like it is for happiness and contentment, I think being thankful isn’t something we happen to fall into, or some people are lucky to have. It is something we work at conditioning our heart towards. It takes some thought, effort, and reflection. We need to purpose in ourselves to focus on the blessings we’ve all received in different forms. When we change our attitude towards our life, we usually find an untold wealth of things to be thankful for.

On Sunday I heard this quotation which put it all quite nicely. It was taken from a sermon by Henry Ward Beecher in the 1800’s:

If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. – The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings, only the iron in God’s sand is gold!

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