Greetings CCOV Family,
Thanksgiving is a good reminder to be intentional about practicing gratitude for all of life’s blessings. According to a study published in 2015 by two psychologists (which you can read more about here: https://dailyhealthpost.com/gratitude-rewires-brain-happier/), people who feel the most gratitude are happier and healthier. It turns out that practicing gratitude even rewires our brain and causes measurable physiological changes. People who start each day from a place of gratitude have increased amounts of dopamine, which is a pleasure hormone. No wonder God calls us to be thankful!
I know that many of us, especially as we move into the holiday season, face struggles because things aren’t the way they used to be. Many are grieving the loss of a loved one, caring for a loved one, experiencing financial stressors, or coping with health issues and difficult relationships. These stressors are weighty and difficult to be sure. It’s easy to get bogged down in sadness. Studies like the one for which I provided the above link tell us that we can improve our mood and health when we are intentional about starting each day at a place of gratitude—rather than with a litany of complaints. We can name or journal specific things for which we are thankful and start reaping psychological and physical benefits.
Many scripture passages attest to this truth. One in particular is Luke 17:11-18. This is the story when Jesus healed the ten lepers. Only one of them turned back, praised God and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet as he gave him thanks. Jesus wondered where the other nine were. What Jesus says to him is most interesting: “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Starting at a place of gratitude is intimately bound up with our faith, and that can indeed make us well. Isn’t it great when neuroscience confirms spiritual principles? I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and meaningful Advent season.