A Healthy Thanksgiving
Written by Fred Schlichter   

nov15_thg_01As Adventists, we are familiar with the health message which serves to be a supplemental part of the prophetic end-time message we so often proclaim. When we talk about a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits, our focus primarily tends to be centered on the two main components of diet and exercise. However there are other sides to the health equation which we do not often consider. Take gratitude for example. It turns out that gratitude, or the act of giving thanks is not only a healthy habit, it also has health benefits of its own.

 

 

While Thanksgiving has become a very food-centric holiday, let us not overlook the reason for which it is named; that is, nov15_thg_02specifically in giving thanks or being grateful. Though Thanksgiving is obviously highlighted on a single day of the year, thankfulness of course should be a part of each and every day. Especially for those of us who practice Christianity, we realize the value and wisdom that comes with sincere gratitude, as it is an essential element of our faith. As it is written, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Th 5:18

 

Diagram - Benefits of GratitudeInterestingly though, there are actual scientific studies that have revealed being thankful or showing appreciation in one form or another, is in fact good for you, physiologically speaking. Just like, as it states, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” Prov 17:22, a grateful heart has medicinal properties of its own. “Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise.” The Ministry of Healing, Pg. 251.

 

Lower blood pressure, sleeping better and being more refreshed upon waking, having less aches and pains, and taking better care of one’s self are just some of the therapeutic aspects of a grateful heart. There are also psychological benefits, such as being more joyful, optimistic, happy, alert, and having a higher sense of self-worth and contentment. Socially, a grateful person might be more helpful and generous, plus being more forgiving. These are just to name a few of the positive side effects of gratitude, but there are a whole host of other benefits as well.

 

Though it can definitely be seen that showing gratitude has favorable results both physically and mentally, perhaps more than anything else it is also spiritually beneficial.

 

Having an attitude of gratitude in a way forces one to focus on that which is good instead of the bad or negative aspects of a situation or life in general. We nov15_thg_04know all too well that dwelling on such pessimisms can bring a person down and result in stress, worry, and depression. As Christians, we are not to be people of anxiety and worry, but to put our faith in our Father who loves and cares deeply for us. Jesus Himself says, “Therefore do not worry … For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matt 6:31-32. By being grateful, especially to our loving God, our outlook is set to an optimistic point of view, and thereby can help to relieve us from such worries or stress. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Ph 4:7

 

nov15_thg_05Furthermore, giving thanks requires a degree of humility. In order to recognize or acknowledge the one or ones who had precipitated a good work or a blessing, he or she who profited from it must humble themselves just to say “Thank you”. This is the will of God, in which lies a promise and a blessing. “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

 

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to come together and enjoy food and fellowship with family and friends. But remember that by giving thanks every day is an opportunity to live a healthier life. Not only in body and mind, but also in spirit, understanding and appreciating what good things God has done, is doing, and will do in our lives.

 

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, …. For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:1,2,4

 

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