The Festival of Gratitude

By Michael Corthell
(Don't miss the video at the end of this article.)

At this time of year, the stress levels for many of us are almost too much to handle. We struggle through an emotional roller-coaster through the holiday season, as we deal with family, our budget, and our work. It's very easy to become frustrated and angry, and then to lose sight of our priorities. 

The key to changing all this: gratitude and sincere thankfulness—for Jesus Christ (the real Santa Claus), and our salvation―for what we have been given. 

Yes, thankful for all things, because all things come from God.

''Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember
that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.''

A song from the 1954 Hollywood film, White Christmas:

“When I'm worried and I can't sleep / I count my blessings instead of sheep / And I fall asleep / Counting my blessings / When my bankroll is getting small / I think of when I had none at all / And I fall asleep / Counting my blessings / If your worried and you can't sleep / Just count your blessings instead of sheep / And you'll fall asleep / Counting your blessings”

When I was young I read the short story by O'Henry. It's called "The Gift of the Magi." It's about love and sacrifice and concerns a young couple, Della and Jim. They are very poor but love each other very much. Tomorrow is Christmas and neither of them has enough money to buy the other the present they really want to buy. Jim wants to buy her a beautiful comb for her beautiful hair, she wants to buy him a chain for his heirloom watch. She cut off her hair and sells it to buy the chain, he sells his watch to buy the comb. A combbut there will be no haira watch-chain, but there is no longer a watch.

O'Henry ends the story with the following:
''And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.''

Want to be happy? Be grateful | David Steindl-Rast

The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you're going, and above all, being grateful.