Have A Healthy Thanksgiving

October 10, 2016
by Diane Eaton

Have you noticed how often the apostle Paul opens his letters with expressions of thanksgiving for people, specifically the believers?

  • I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV 2011)
  • "I thank my God every time I remember you." (Philippians 1:3)
  • "I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers." (Philemon 1:4)

Such verses have inspired me to start a brand new habit: I now make a point of thanking God daily for His faithful followers. These are the "cloud of witnesses" which surrounds me. And what a cloud! My list of names keeps growing. As I give thanks for them, I write their names on a big cloud that I made with paper. These dear ones are evidence of God's faithfulness to His covenant promise, not just in the present, but in the past, too. Many of them encourage me through their lives and writings. This new habit of thanksgiving is protecting me from discouragement over the relentless skepticism and unbelief which saturates my world. It helps me remember that God is still at work. "We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing." (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

But I have another reason for this project. Scripture is backed up by science, which proves the health benefits of a positive, thankful attitude. Grateful feelings release health-producing neurochemicals into our body: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. These help us feel good. Of course, you don't need to know all that, but it's surely exciting to see science proving that God knows best! That in itself is a cause for thanksgiving! And more: Thankfulness protects our bodies and minds from the harmful chemicals released by anxiety, anger, and fear. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6). Now, that's a health remedy!

In other words, if we want to be more healthy, we should be generous in giving thanks, not just at special celebrations, but every day. It's about adopting a lifestyle of thanksgiving, for our own good. I dare say, we can claim it as God's health program for us:

  • "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything …" (Ephesians 5:20)
  • "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus …" (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • "… overflowing with thankfulness …" (Colossians 2:7)

The psalmists and apostles are wonderful examples. They dot Scripture with expressions of thanksgiving – but not merely for good circumstances. Much of the time they were assailed by troublesome people.

I made another discovery: Gratitude is a visionary quality – because it looks ahead with great anticipation: "Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful …" (Hebrews 12:28)

Now that would be a healthy thanksgiving!

Prayer: O Lord, cure us from our bent towards ingratitude. Inspire us to be attentive to the evidence of Your goodness all around us and beyond us, that we may overflow with thanksgiving — always. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>

Paisley, Ontario, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Give Thanks.


    Love that diet.


    Thanks Dianne.
    (Ghana)


    THANK YOU, God, for all the writers of devotionals! Happy Thanksgiving, Diane.


    Diane, thanking and praising God for this uplifting devotional! Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Amen, Diane! Again I say… AMEN! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and thank you for continuing to inspire your many readers with scriptural lessons for a rewarding and abundant life.


    Thank-you Diane for the centering on a thankful heart. I appreciated the articulation of the focus, blessings.
    (Ont)


    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for a precious Thanksgiving and every-day-of-the-year good-advice devotional.
    Keep writing.


    Good morning Diane and HAPPY HEALTHY THANKSGIVING!! Thank God for you, Diane. Thank you for your Thanksgiving Devotional. Thanks to all the PresbyCan Daily Devotional writers and to all the technical staff. Pray all are having a Happy Thanksgiving.


    Many thanks for a very thoughtful and inspiring message regards Thankfulness. I do appreciate the guidance and plan to incorporate more instances in my life and daily activities. Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving celebration.


    Wow, I love this devotional and I am going to follow your wonderful example and pray for the “great cloud of witnesses.” I may even make my own cloud as well.
    God’s blessings to you!


    Diane,
    Thank you for a very ‘thoughtful’ devotion today. We are having our family for dinner today, and I will repeat your information of the health benefits of being thankful.
    Blessings.


    I thank God for His message to me today!
    Thank you, Diane, for your willingness to hear and write it!
    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
    And, another exclamation point for good measure because His love and light is all around us!


    Thank you for inspiring an idea for my Sunday school class! We are learning to use our Bibles. I will have them search these verses and then challenge them to come up with names for whom each is thankful. A large paper cloud and pens will work nicely!
    (Alabama)


    Dear Diane:
    Thank you for these beautiful words. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    May God continue to keep you close to His heart and bless you with wonderful words to inspire and keep us all on the right track, the one that leads directly to our God and our Lord and Saviour.
    Many, many thanks.


    Amen Ms Eaton Amen!
    “To God be the glory” in all of our lives as we live out your devotional today and always. As believers we all have had trials in our lives (which may cause us to be bitter, frustrated, sad, angry, impatient, moody, etc., etc.), but I agree with you and the Bible…
    His promise is “peace”, not only for ourselves but also to those around us. We all need to “live” that out by His mercy and grace!


    Good morning Diane!
    I just wanted to thank you for your devotional this morning. I am currently in a work-related situation that I’ve not been looking forward to, and needed this reminder. I cannot change my current situation, but I can change my attitude and thinking. I’m going to express my thanks to God for the opportunity instead!
    Thank you for this reminder – it is truly a blessing!


    I have been so uplifted, Diane, reading today’s devotional. It was a great blessing to my husband and I. It is Thanks Giving and our whole family are not here. So we simply thank God that we have a strong and believing ‘family’ of Christian friends. He has surrounded us with love and strength.
    So Thank you for your words of encouragement and joy in our God. Have a blessed day, and know that our Lord is using your ability to write and give joy and help to old folk like us. May you be blessed and that your Thanks Giving day was truly a Blessed one.


    Hello Diane
    Sorry to “burst your bubble” – but science doesn’t “prove” anything about God or the Bible.
    The best that science can do is support hypotheses grounded in Scripture texts. Sometimes science does not support hypotheses ground in Scripture texts, of course. In some instances, the best that scientific method can do is “explore” interesting connections between what the Bible says, on the one hand, and emerging scientific knowledge, on the other.
    Knowledge is knowledge (at least as scientists use that word). Belief is belief. And faith is faith.
    (AB, CANADA)


    Dear Diane,
    I really appreciate your meditation this morning. I had just read an email from my daughter and my heart was so heavy. She is ill and scraping by. She is alone and cannot afford a holiday meal. She is very depressed and although I share with her every month it doesn’t begin to meet her needs. I do trust the Lord about her and hold her up with thanksgiving for knowing he hears my prayers, I do carry this burden for her. I must be more thankful and have an attitude of gratitude for my own health sake.
    You have been a great encouragement to me this morning.
    Thank you as I begin my devotion time,
    (BC)


    Thank you. Diane!


    Dear Diane,
    Hello, and thank you for your “Healthy Thanksgiving” devotional! It is wonderfully encouraging. How good, and wise, to be purposeful in our reminding ourselves of the Lord’s goodness through the “cloud of witnesses” who surround us! God continues to bless me through your faith. The Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you – as He does!
    (BC)

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