Enjoy this week’s early, shorter newsletter before you enjoy your family and good food this weekend! We’ll be back next week with our regular emails.
Thankfulness vs. Gratitude
We love Thanksgiving but it comes with its own challenges. Every year, we go around the table telling each other and God the things, experiences, and people we’re thankful for. It’s a moment that perhaps satisfies us, at least for awhile. But that moment is usually eclipsed rather quickly by stuffing ourselves to the brim with food, taking advantage of as many Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as possible, and eventually opening present after present by the Christmas tree. And after that, the humdrum of normal life after the exciting holidays, combined with the short days and cold weather, can be so depressing, it’s hard to even recall that we had something to be grateful for at all.
If you or your loved ones find yourself in this tension, this could be a great year to consider being grateful instead of merely thankful.
Merriam Webster defines thankful as “conscious of benefit received,” whereas it defines grateful as “appreciative of benefit received.” While those definitions hardly seem different, the posture can make a world of difference.
Being conscious of blessings is, in theory, easy. All it takes is recognizing on some level that we are the beneficiaries of abundance. It’s simply a reaction to external circumstances. But being appreciative takes more work. It requires not simply acknowledging something, but recognizing the full worth of it. It’s a habit we have to cultivate because it requires a change in attitude: “Oh, something nice happened, and I’m grateful for it.” We might thank someone for, say, holding a door open for us almost by rote, but feeling the weight of what they’ve done in our hearts and souls is what makes us truly grateful.
As much as we’d all like to think we haven’t succumbed to our consumeristic, individualistic, “more is more” society, it infiltrates all of us to one degree or another if we don’t actively resist it. So this year, add active resistance to the weekend’s itinerary. Talk to your family, then together come up with ideas for cultivating true gratefulness that will last beyond the holiday season.
P.S. We’re hiring!
Do you know any young adults who may be interested in joining our live speaking teams? We have two apprenticeship spots opening in January 2019.
Our Apprenticeship Program is designed to expose young adults to public speaking situations, non-profit-ministry-related responsibilities, student mentorship interactions, and team-centric ministry. We’re looking for people who have completed at least two years of college credit and are passionate about discipling teens and resourcing adults.
If you know anyone in your community who may be interested, send them to apply.axis.org for more info and shoot any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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