Celebrate with Gratitude

Celebrate with Gratitude

Celebrate the Thanksgiving season by attending the 4Ever Grateful Concert on Sun., Nov. 12, 3:00-5:00 pm, at Congregation Ohev Shalom, 2 Chester Road Wallingford. This concert celebrates the talents of our multicultural community from local religious houses and is sponsored by FUSE (Fellowship of Urban Suburban Engagement). Everyone is welcome to attend!

Exercising Our Gratitude Muscles

Expressing gratitude isn’t just a good thing to do; it also appears to be good for us! Indiana University researchers found that participants who performed gratitude-focused writing exercises felt uplifted, and were more likely to express gratefulness through generosity, even weeks later.

Furthermore, brain scans revealed increased gratitude-related activity even months down the road (New York Magazine).

Though the study was small, we seem to have a “gratitude muscle” that can be strengthened through exercise. If so, there may be more than we thought to the popularity of gratitude journals and Mom’s insistence that we write thank-you notes. Not to mention the biblical call to “give thanks to the LORD, for he is good” (1 Chronicles 16:34, for example).

Might God have hardwired us for gratitude — not only at Thanksgiving but year round — because it’s good for us as well as for those we thank? To that, we respond, “Thanks be to God!”

Always Thankful

Martin Rinkart, a German Lutheran minister, wrote the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God” in 1636. At the time, the Thirty Years’ War was ravaging central Europe, claiming millions of lives. Rinkart served as pastor in Eilenburg, a walled town that became a crowded refuge for starving fugitives. Although Rinkart was struggling to provide for his own family, he opened his own home to people in need.

After the plague entered Eilenburg, Rinkart conducted up to 50 funerals a day — including services for his wife and the only other two pastors in town. Amid the despair, he wrote many hymns, including “Now Thank We All Our God.” Originally intended as a table prayer, it’s now sung at Thanksgiving to remember God’s “countless gifts of love” — even during hardships.