Guest post by Gerard M. Nadal.
In a nation so super-abundantly blessed as ours, it is only right that we dedicate one day out of every 365 to give thanks to the God who has rained such an embarrassment of riches upon us. Still there are those among us who seek to change the name of this holiday, because giving thanks to God is abhorrent to them.
They are a loud and growing throng.
As I drove the vast expanse of the Midwest and West with beloved daughter Beth, through endless oceans of grain, amidst the army of truckers who keep the food flowing to my city, among others, I remarked to her that these two realities alone are enough for a national holiday.
Of all the gifts for which I am grateful, the first is the gift of gratitude itself. It is the cornerstone for a healthy mind and soul, and its absence is always accompanied by a riot of pathologies. Gratitude is the highest form of prayer, and the singular characteristic that unlocks the door to happiness and contentment. Without it learning is still possible, but education never happens. Romance occurs, but love never takes root. The arts and humanities cease striving beyond our present condition, cease to elevate the mind and spirit, and implode in a dust-cloud of narcissism and hedonism.
Gratitude needs to be taught in a thousand ways large and small. It begins with mothers and fathers sitting around a table and humbling themselves before God, by acknowledging that all we have comes from Him, including our work and opportunities — and not from our own provenance. And that one reality points to the deeper reality about gratitude: It does nothing for God. It allows us to savor and fully enjoy all that we have been given, to live fully.
Dr. Gerard M. Nadal currently serves as the President and CEO of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. He blogs at Coming Home: Science in Service of the Pro-Life Movement.