Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. – Henry Van Dyke

In our harried day-to-day lives, we are all guilty of putting far too much focus on what we feel we lack, rather than what we have. It too is, as Van Dyke describes above, “a natural impulse.”

But any person who defines themselves, their lives or their community by what they don’t have is doomed to constant disappointment. Just because many of those around you wallow in negativity doesn’t mean that it must tarnish your heart as well. A sump of disappointment is no recipe for a contented life or vibrant community, state or nation.

As we gather this week to offer Thanksgiving, each in our own way, it is important to reaffirm our gratitude for the positive things in our lives, our friends, our families, our gift of life.

There always will be people with more material possessions, with greater wealth, living what on the outside anyway seem to be more exciting lives.

In the end, what matters are what we hold most dear in our hearts and the love of people who hold us in theirs. There are no small blessings, only an inability or resistance to recognize them.

As Van Dyke suggests, a formal day of Thanksgiving is a natural manifestation of thankfulness driven by an earnest gratitude for the multitude of kindnesses, both large and small, we enjoy throughout the year.

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