4 Ideas to Make Gratitude a Daily Practice // M-Note 11.23.23

Gratitude is like penicillin for the soul. Gratitude is linked to everything from better sleep to lower blood pressure, stronger relationships to better self-esteem. Creating a habit of giving thanks literally and spiritually improves your life. I think that is why God so often reminds us to be thankful. It is hard sometimes to focus on what we have instead of what we don't, what is here instead of what isn’t, what is right in our life instead of what is going wrong. While gratitude is healthy anytime, it is much better if we create a habit of practicing it. And there is no better day to start that habit than today. So, I thought I would offer four easy ideas for making gratitude a daily practice in your life.
 
  1. Write a Note
 
Take time this weekend to choose one person who has played a role in your life and write them a thank you note. You’ll be amazed by the difference this will make in the lives of people around you, and it takes 5-10 minutes a week.

  1. Dinner Questions

My kids roll their eyes when I do this, but it works, and they engage. If you have a family, try eating together at least once a week. When you do, ask one question related to gratitude that everyone has to answer. It can be as simple as “What is one thing that you are really glad happened today?” or “What was the best thing that happened last week?”. Then say a prayer thanking God for those occurrences.

  1. Words of Affirmation
 
I love this one. Each day, I try to pay attention to people who just seem to go above and beyond. It is easy to be disappointed, but it takes work to pay attention to what is good. And then go a step further and offer a compliment or kind word. Try it, and you’ll see what a difference it makes in the lives of others (and in you).

  1. Daily Prayer
 
Starting a habit of spending a few minutes each day with God will change your spiritual life more than any other discipline - if you stick with it. But a lot of us don’t know where to start. That is why I wrote a daily devotion and prayer book, The Methodist book of Daily Prayer. Pick it up, or one like it, and start. You can get my new book at our sites on Sunday, Amazon, Cokesbury, or locally at the Novel Neighbor.
 
I hope all of you have a great day. Do something fun, eat some food, and find time to rest. This weekend is the start of the Christmas season at The Gathering and worship is going to be incredible as we start our new series Simply Christmas: Finding God in the Small Things. It is easy to rush through this season and miss the simple, small ways that God is working. So join me Sunday as we talk about how to simplify our Christmas so that we can see God in the small things around us.
 
Peace,
Matt
 
P.S. The Gathering’s Christmas Eve schedule is set, including several early services for those of you going out-of-town. You can find all the services and details here. Just a note, all the Sunday services on the 24th will be Christmas Eve services, even in the morning. Also, we need even more people willing to serve during December at The Gathering. Serving is another great way to express gratitude. If you are interested in serving this month, let us know here.

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