Gratitude requires effort especially in difficult times, but the more gratitude we display, the more natural it becomes.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits;
who forgives all your iniquities and heals all your diseases;
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion;
who satisfies your desires with good things,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:2-5)
We should not get drunk on wine, for that is dissipation.
Instead, we should be filled with the Spirit,
speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs;
singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:18-20).
Gratitude is a choice, not merely a feeling, and it requires effort especially in difficult times. But the more we choose to live in the discipline of conscious thanksgiving, the more natural it becomes, and the more our eyes are opened to the little things throughout the course of the day that we previously overlooked.
G. K. Chesterton had a way of acknowledging these many little benefits: “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
Henri Nouwen observed that “every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace.”