My mom used to make me write thank you notes. Actually, I feel like she still does.
Every time I sit down to scratch out a couple sentences of gratitude, I’m transported back to mid January 1988, and I am at the dinning room table and trying to remember which relative gave me which lego set. I guess I should write her a thank you note for making me say thanks.
Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show has a bit on the Friday night show where he has to “catch up on some personal stuff” during the show and writes some humorous thank you notes. “Thank you tissue boxes,” he says as he writes, “for either giving me one tissue or thirty.” Maybe you have to see it for it to be funny.
I think parents are onto something with the whole thank you notes. Jesus would say so. In the gospel this weekend Jesus heals 10 lepers and they leave to show the priests of the Temple. On the way, one realizes he is actually healed and returns to Jesus to say thanks. When does, Jesus asks where the other 9 are who were healed and then says, “Stand up and go. Your faith has saved you.”
How did the leper demonstrate faith? By giving thanks. How should we demonstrate our faith? By giving thanks to God.
Giving thanks doesn’t just demonstrate our faith, it actually makes us happy. Seriously. Multiple studies from places like Oxford and Harvard confirm the old saying:
It’s not that happy people are grateful. Rather people who are grateful are happy.
Saying thank you is a double gift; it’s a two-for-one deal. It’s like giving your dad Garth Brooks “The Hits” for his birthday when you’re 14; he’s happy and you get a CD you wanted (strangely specific example). What I’m trying to say is that when we give thanks, we get to recognize and take joy in someone else’s work and gift AND we get increased our own joy. It’s like opening the gift or receiving the work a sound time.
Giving thanks makes us happy and better people. The crazy thing is that we can get better at being grateful. The more we do it, the more naturally it comes to us.
So if you want to be happy, if you want to make other people happy, if you want to open a gift a 2nd time, if you want to demonstrate your faith in God, if you want to do what Jesus says, if you want to be saved – write a thank you note. Choose gratitude.
Idea 1: Write a thank you note. Doesn’t matter to whom or for what, just do it. Make it be fore something for which you are really grateful. When you’re done thank God for that other person in prayer. (how? Say, “God, Thank you for ________ because they ____________.)
Idea 2: Want to grow in gratitude? Keep a daily gratitude journal. At night right before bed, write one thing you are grateful for. After a couple weeks (or couple days), you will probably have more things that you think of, write what what you want. Commit to it for 7, 14, or 21 days and then assess whether you want to continue.