Why gratitude matters

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude. It’s pretty widely acknowledged that being grateful is good for you. It’s like opening the shutters in a darkened room to let the sunlight in. I’ve found that just pausing to be grateful—even for some small thing—can often help me see more of the good around me that maybe I had been overlooking. So I’m thankful for gratitude; it’s a wonderful habit to cultivate. 

Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “What is gratitude but a powerful camera obscura, a thing focusing light where love, memory, and all within the human heart is present to manifest light” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 164). That’s a very compelling definition of gratitude. I love the idea that when we let gratitude enter the heart, it brings both light and focus. It turns our attention to ideas that will bring healing. 

Christ Jesus had a divinely inspired knack for bringing a healing focus to almost any situation or activity. Take, for instance, his delivering to his disciples the Beatitudes. When I think of these particular teachings, I think of Jesus saying in essence, “Let’s talk about happiness. I want you to understand where true happiness comes from.” And then he says that blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, and the merciful, to name a few. A far cry from the materialism that would have us become preoccupied with ourselves, our accomplishments, our acquisitions, and our legacies, as though these were the source of joy. 

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November 19, 2018

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