I appreciated these thoughts on gratitude from William Law (English cleric and theological writer, 1686 –1761), excerpted from his book A Serious Call To a Devout and Holy Life. May you have a happy, Christ-centered, full-of-gratitude Thanksgiving!
Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God willeth, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.
…If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and all perfection, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing. Could you therefore work miracles, you could not do more for yourself than by this thankful spirit, for it heals with a word speaking, and turns all that it touches into happiness.
…though it be the noblest sacrifice that the greatest Saint can offer unto God, yet is it not tied to any time, or place, or great occasion but is always in your power and may be the exercise of every day. For the common events of every day are sufficient to discover and exercise this temper and may plainly show you how far you are governed in all your actions by this thankful spirit.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you (Jonah 2:9).