Powerful words from leaders about developing the attitude of gratitude

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Life isn't just about you. It's about family and friends and giving back. ~ Reese Witherspoon

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~ Cicero

Individuals and families are feeling pressures of the economy, bad news from television, and a sense of hopelessness and despair that is scary. The coming season can be one of high stress, or one of a newly defined perspective. Despite your circumstances, a shift in focus, a change in thought, and adjustment of perspective can take you and your family to a better place, a place of hope, and yes, even joy. Research validates what you and I already know, that having an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness can go a long way in helping us be healthy and balanced. ~ John Thurman, MA

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was "thank you," that would suffice. ~ Meister Eckhart

These are clearly some of the toughest times our nation has gone through financially. Businesses, churches, ministries, and especially families are in crisis. But in difficult times, we can learn to cling to our most important relationships and not our things. ~ Gary Smalley, PhD

And thanks to my friend Joe Bilello, ChFC, founder of Avanti Wealth Management, www.Avantiwealth.com who shared this history of Thanksgiving to help you understand the incredible significance of this day to all Americans.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the settlers at Plymouth in the Massachusetts colony in 1621 under the leadership of Governor William Bradford. Washington and Madison each issued a Thanksgiving proclamation once during their Presidencies. It was not until 1863, however, when Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation that the holiday was established as a national annual event, occurring on the last Thursday of November. The first observance of the national holiday came one week after the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg while the Civil War was raging on. The language of the proclamation is beautiful, listen.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. ~ Edward Sandford Martin

Finally, here are some encouraging words from my friend Steve Arterburn, founder of New Life Ministries, (www.NewLife.com) about finding a new perspective on Thanksgiving to develop a grateful heart in tough times.

“I was thinking about Thanksgiving the other day and I read something that stopped me. “The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts … nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

Boy, doesn’t that say a lot! Think about it. Our forefathers—the courageous men and women who came to this country on the Mayflower, had a pretty tough go of things. And in spite of a huge loss of life and incredible hardship they kept their faith and thanked God, when all they had was a sorry place to live and the hope that they would grow or kill enough food to eat. Others had been wiped out before them and they might be next, but they gave thanks anyway. Just think about that for a moment and then think about your life. We’ve all had pain in our lives, and you maybe have experienced hurt and suffering that is beyond what we think anyone should have to go through; yet we are called to pause and give thanks to God for Him and His incredible blessings no matter what our circumstances.

Read what the apostle, Paul, wrote: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16

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