Words of Wellness

November 30, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

"Think Before You Thank"

Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are my favorite holidays because they remain free from commercialization and stressful expectations.† Thanksgiving, especially, continues to be all about family, friends, food, faith and fun--and of course a little football thrown in there as well.†† How's that for alliteration!†† †

We are all, of course, familiar with the origins of our current celebration of Thanksgiving.† Are you aware, though, of the origin of the word "thank?"† If not, you might be able to guess from the title of this edition of the Words of Wellness.† That's right, the word "thank" comes from the word "think."† Think is the root of thank.† Thank means to express a gracious thought.† So when we say "thanks" we are literally putting into words the grateful thought we are thinking. †

I love studying the root meanings of words, but there is an important reason I am connecting "thank" with "think."† For the next month or so, the dominant message of our culture is that we don't have enough.† We are encouraged to think and live from a place of scarcity rather than a place of abundance.† If we buy into this way of living in scarcity,† we will anxiously work to fill up that scarcity with material goods in the form of presents, food, drink, parties, etc.† Each of us is susceptible to living our lives from this mindset, and if we do, we soon discover there is no amount of anything that can fill us up.

There is an alternative way of thinking though, and that is to think of ourselves as already having all that we need to be content.† This is living from a place of abundance, a belief that we are already blessed beyond measure by the simple gifts of life, love, friends and family.† When we think like this, we are not waiting to be happy and grateful some day in the future when this or that finally comes our way.† When we think like this, we are happy and grateful.... today.

Henry Ford knew about the power of how thinking shapes our lived reality when he said, "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you are right."† And so it is when it comes to thinking whether we have much to be grateful for or not.† Our thinking shapes our reality.† If you think the next four to five weeks will be full of stress, you will be right.† If you think it will be full of grace and peace, you will be right. †

I hope you will give these words some thought.† And after you think them over, I hope your thinking will lead to giving thanks for your life right now--just as it is. †

Happy Thinksgiving!† I mean, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

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