An Attitude Of Gratitude

0 comments Posted on April 27, 2012

with Bill Gaither

About 20 years ago, the Gaithers called it quits—with Thanksgiving that is. Or at least, Thanksgiving as they had come to know it. After agonizing, year after year, over all of the trimmings for this one “simple” day, Gloria Gaither announced it was time to “stop the show.”

To preserve the heart of the first Thanksgiving, Gloria went back to the basics to start a new family tradition. Now, each year, as relatives and guests gather around the table, an ear of Indian corn is passed. As the corn is passed, each person takes a kernel. Gloria explains that at the first Thanksgiving, this was all they had to eat. And they were grateful for what they had.

After everyone has a kernel of corn, a basket is passed around. Each person then shares something that he or she is grateful for, places the kernel in the basket and passes the basket to the next person.

“In any family, not everybody is going to be a Christian… but everybody can be grateful, everybody can be thankful for something,” Bill Gaither shares.

“In a crowd like that, it’s usually very difficult to get everybody to say something when the whole crowd is listening because people are pretty private about things,” he elaborates. “Interestingly enough, when you start talking about gratitude, you can even get the most backward people to get pretty verbal at that point and say things they normally wouldn’t say the year round.”

For the Gaithers, what started out as a simple five-minute ceremony has become an hour long family tradition, filled with laughter and tears, of heartfelt gratitude.

“Thanks is one word. Gratitude is another word,” Bill clarifies. “You can go by that word thankful pretty quickly.”

“Gratitude changes your focus. It’s good theology and good psychology.”

Today Thanksgiving is often celebrated with elaborate tablescapes, platefuls of food, parades and football games. But the first Thanksgiving was something more modest. This Thanksgiving, more than the comforting aroma of pumpkin pie, may your celebration be infused with the essence of gratitude for all that God has graciously given—laughter, life, family, friends and His saving love that never ends.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

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