An attitude of gratitude

By Mike McCormick

Now that November is here, we are entering the official Thanksgiving season.

This holiday presents an opportunity for all of us to hit the “pause” button on our regularly-scheduled life and take some time to be grateful for the many blessings in our lives.

I have learned a great deal over the past few years about the need for and the importance of “giving thanks.”

The need for gratitude is evident in our world today.

We are seeing an epidemic increase in anxiety and depression.

Young children feel stressed at school. Suicide attempts are on the rise with our teenagers. Adults fear the changes of their unknown future.

Coupled with anxiety and depression is a pervasive sense of entitlement that is plaguing our culture.

Children expect to be waited on by parents. Parents expect to receive a full range of services from outside their home. Adults often feel they have put in their time and now are ready for someone else to serve them.

These current trends are what make gratitude — pausing to recognize good things in our lives and saying “thank you” for them — so powerful.

Did you know research shows if you focus on three good things before going to bed for 14 days in a row, you can change feelings of anxiety and depression for up to six months?

And those who recognize how much they have received are exponentially more willing to turn around and give generously to others.

Of course, modern research is really just catching up to what followers of Jesus have been taught for more than 2,000 years.

The Bible says in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It also says in Acts 20:35, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

We have a very special opportunity coming up to demonstrate our gratitude as a community.

The Association of Churches will bring the entire community together Nov. 19 for our annual Community Thanksgiving Service.

Last year was a tremendous turnout at First Baptist Church on Highland Street.

This year, the service will be held 6 to 8 p.m. at Ark of Mercy. A time for food and fellowship will be included.

This Thanksgiving season, let’s inject each day with an “attitude of gratitude.”

Mike McCormick has been lead pastor at Calvary Christian Church for three years. He can be reached at mike.mccormick@calvarychristian.net