As we approach Christmas and the season of ‘goodwill to all mankind’ it is a good time to reflect on our lives and to be thankful – I for one am thankful to be the new Chaplain at Taunton School, and I am overwhelmed by being in an environment where everyone is so friendly and supportive. I am thankful for the lovely food that is provided, the people who work hard to keep the place nice and clean, the hard working teachers who care so much about their students, a beautiful chapel and picturesque grounds, and all those working behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly – so much to be thankful for!
I have been told that the secret to a happy life is to be thankful. ‘We enter God’s gates through thanksgiving and praise,’ (psalm 110), we are more likely to be happy if we can think of the positives in our lives. Positive thoughts release endorphins; negativity saps our soul dry and is bad for our health. Unfortunately our minds seem predisposed to negative thoughts; psychologists suggest that up to 80% of our thoughts every day are negative, so having positive thoughts requires some effort!
One suggestion is to write down all the things that you are thankful for. Try to find five things every day and write them down, even if it is just ‘I’m thankful for my lunch,’ as my daughter wrote down the other day because she couldn’t think of anything. It is easy to be thankful when life is going well, when you are winning the game, getting the grades, have a new exciting job, but it isn’t so easy when everything seems to be going wrong – it is in those times we need to take action to change the way we think, but if you really think about it, there is always something to be thankful for. ‘Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –think about such things,’ (Philippians 4, 8), ‘and the God of peace will be with you.’
Remember to be thankful this Christmas, and may all God’s blessings be upon you!