At this time of year, with the holidays upon us, we hear the term “thanksgiving” often. While it is often associated with good food and with football, there has to be more. At Thanksgiving we also often hear about being thankful and grateful for our many blessings, and sometimes we even express some gratitude for those blessings – maybe in a prayer at Thanksgiving dinner. But what is real thanksgiving, and what does that have to do with Good, Better, Best Love?
I think that the key to Better Love is gratitude, or more accurately, the expression of gratitude. I’ll talk about Good Love next week. It has been suggested that there is nothing more vital to relationships than gratitude. And likewise, that ingratitude ruins relationships. I had to ask myself, what am I going to concentrate on? At this time of year especially, I have to ask myself, will I concentrate on the greed of good food and football? Or, will I concentrate on the gratitude that is a part of the good love I feel and want to share, and want to ensure is better love? It sounds simple and easy – of course I want better love.
And that requires action. I always look at the Spanish in my bilingual Bible (more next week), and was reminded of the Spanish term for “thanksgiving”. It is “accion de gracias”. That literally is “action of thanks”. And it is so true. When we are truly grateful, we have to take an action, express it, make it known that it is sincere. An action is required on our part, not just a superficial “thank you”. ACTION – what can I do for you that might help me express my gratitude?
It has been written that we should acknowledge all that our parents have done for us, by helping them. And with both my parents in their 80’s, I am thankful for the opportunities to help them, whether with computer problems or physical assistance with doctor’s visits. I want them to experience the gratitude I feel for all they have done for me, the moral support, the financial support, the support they continue to give, even after “being grown up and on my own”.
I also feel a gratitude for a spouse and children who have all made me proud, in different ways. But what are we talking about here? We’re talking about relationships, to our parents, to our spouse, to our children, and to friends. And for me, that includes my relationship with God as well. None of those relationships are ever steady or constant. They are either bettering, as in Better Love, or they are declining. And to better any relationship, effort and ACTION are needed. Express your gratitude, not only in words, but in acts of service. Recognize what others, those you share love with, have done for you.
When I think of gratitude that has been expressed in the Bible, I think of the 10 lepers that Jesus cured (Luke 17:11-19). After he cured all 10 of their leprosy, only one returned to thank him. Where were the other nine? Do I want my mother or father, my wife, my sons or daughter, to ask, “Where was he?” Or do I want them to say – he was the one who took ACTION to express his gratitude to me? That would be Better Love.
If you have read this far, you are obviously interested in not only having Good Love in your life, but in having Better Love and experiencing Real Thanksgiving. I challenge you to not just read this as a “nice message”, but to be motivated to the Spanish equivalent of thanksgiving – ACTION of thanks. Take one important relationship in your life, at least one, and take an ACTION to express your gratitude in that relationship. Make that relationship better; don’t be content with the current quality of that relationship. Lack of ACTION to improve the relationship means it is declining. Don’t just take some ACTION this great Thanksgiving, be persistent. And that will only make the relationship Better, make the love you share Better Love.