Gratitude has no Expiration Date

Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart… — Psalm 111:1a

Are all of your holiday thank you cards written? Perhaps you still have a couple that need to be sent, but you are worrying that it’s really too long past Christmas to show your gratitude. If that’s the case, dear one, let me assure you of a simple fact: It is never too late to give thanks.

Gratitude has no expiration date. It’s that simple. Stop right now. Sit down. Get out a nice note card (even a plain scrap of paper will do) and your favorite writing implement. If you are uncertain of how to begin, click here for a short article/video originally taken from the CBS Evening News segment “Assignment America” and shared by the excellent website DailyGood. In it you will meet attorney John Kralik, a man whose life was transformed by the simple act of expressing gratitude through handwritten notes.

Did you watch the video? If not, stop right now and do it. Yes, click on that little link above. Trust me; you’ll be glad you took the time.

Now, imagine a world where hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of people took the time to say a simple word of thanks via the trusty method of pen, paper, envelope, and stamp. We’re not talking crafting a Pushcart Prize caliber tome here. Just a few sentences will do.

Giving thanks for even the most simple gift or action, benefits not only the giver but also the one who receives. Like ripples from a stone that troubles the waters of a quiet lake, a thank you note has the capacity to change the world one person at a time. Hey, it might even help the United States Postal Service, too. Just think of all the people in your life who deserve your thanks!

Start one note at a time as often as you are able. Start with those long overdue holiday thank you notes and keep on thanking. It will change your life. Of that I am quite certain.

Thanks-Living Activity

Here’s this weeks challenge activity! Write a thank you note each day to someone you need to thank and put it in the mail. That’s six days (Monday through Saturday) and six notes and six stamps. On top of that, each day write a short note to the Creator of the Universe giving thanks for something God has done for you or given you. Yes, write it down. Your writing is your prayer.

Drop a comment here and let me know how it went. I will randomly select one person to receive an eight-note pack of “Joyfully Yours” notes from DaySpring and eight stamps to keep your thank-you regimen going. Better yet, these notes will be procured locally to support a local Christian bookstore.

Congrats to Natasha, the last winner, who received three art cards featuring illuminated manuscripts from The St. John’s Bible.

Photos by Kanko and Randy OHC used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

Share a Little Thanks-living Each Day!

Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment. – Sydney Smith

Here’s a challenge for this new week: Make one person happy each day. It doesn’t have to be a big production. Just look around. See who could use a smile. Buy someone breakfast. Leave a good book in a public place with a note and enough money for a cup of coffee. Visit the nursing home. Help your parents or your child with a chore or project. Tell your spouse how special he or she is to you.

Give just a little bit of yourself in thanks for all the people who have given of themselves to make your life better. Don’t put it off. Don’t hesitate. Just do it…each day this week…at least one person.

If you’re willing to share your experience, leave a comment and share your thanks-living with the rest of us. Blessings on your week!

Photo by Ginny and John used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

Words for the Week & a Contest

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Paul knew a thing or two about thanks-living. He faced some pretty tough circumstances and even managed to be cheery in prison. Seems like his tri-fold admonition is a potent recipe for experiencing a daily attitude of gratitude.

How about a little thanks-living challenge this week? As you ponder St. Paul’s words, live them out by doing these three things:

1.  Find reason to laugh and be joyful each day.

2.  Pray as often as you’re moved to do so during the day. It doesn’t have to be formal and fancy, just a conversation with the Creator at any time in any place.

3.  Finally, find at least one (but hopefully more) reason to give thanks and/or say thank you to someone every day.

Are you up for the challenge? Here’s a little incentive…

Sometime between now and next Sunday (12/18) post a response to this blog entry about your experience with the challenge.  If you do, you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win a package of DaySpring thank you notes (a handy thing to have this time of year). Each response is one entry, so feel free to post throughout the week. If you’re not already a subscriber, you’ll need to post your e-mail so I can let you know if you’ve won.

Have a great week of gratitude and thanks-living!

Photo by tshien used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!