Many of us learned that when we were young, we could wear down our parents with constant complaining and whining and temper flare-ups. If our parents were tired (and most are at the end of a day), we became masters of manipulation and getting our way by becoming insistent, determined and able to use guilt, to get what we want. Sometimes, punishment was the result of our unrelenting behavior, but other times, we got the results we desired. Parents need God in their lives, because they might never know if they are aiding bad behavior or oppressing the child-like spirit. Giving in can hurt a child but in another instance, giving in can do wonders for child-like faith. God can give us insight into the motivation behind child-like behaviors.
If we are crippled in our humanity by getting our way as a child, we will most likely grow up thinking the world owes us a favor. We feel victimized and unrealized and unappreciated. Our choices will continue to reflect our lack of thanksgiving and we go through life becoming all the more embittered as we age. We end up finding nothing worthwhile to be thankful for and without repentance (a change in our thinking and behavior), we will become expert in fault-finding. This fault-finding will be our only means of keeping our self-esteem from plummeting into the abyss. We will only feel right when we are able to find fault in all that we come into contact with. Comparing ourselves to others will continue to result in our feeling up one moment and down the next. The way down is much quicker than the way up. So, it will be comparable to one step up and four steps down. We don't notice the gradual descending of our self-esteem, because the one step up is our focus. Finding that person or persons that make us feel 'I ain't so bad'. We barely notice our self-esteem is taking a beating, as we are only focused on when we get a hit in.
Thanksgiving is not a suggestion from God. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a practiced and purposeful way of life for the Christian. Thanksgiving is not just a yearly get together of food and family and football, but should be a daily sacrifice to God.
Not feeling particularly grateful? No problem. Our feelings have nothing to do with thanksgiving. The practice of thanksgiving begins with finding just one thing (no matter the insignificance) to give thanks to God. When we decide to become thankful on purpose, God will begin to show us all kinds of things we may have overlooked that constitutes as 'goodness' in our lives. Fault-finders are focused on finding the imperfect, the wrong, the unjust, the unfair, the flaw, the unpleasant, the bad, etc. People who practice thankfulness are focused on finding the good, the beauty, the rightness, the just, the fair, the pleasant, etc. The more thankful we become, the more we find to be thankful for. The less thankful we become, the less we find to be thankful for.
The word 'thanksgiving' is mentioned 28 times or more in the Bible (KJV). The words 'giving thanks' is mentioned 18 or more times in the Bible (KJV). The word 'thanks' is mentioned 71 or more times in the Bible (KJV). We can all understand how the Israelites wandered for so long in the desert. They lost sight of the need to remain in thanksgiving. One of the major character traits missing in those that are regarded as 'enemies of God' in the Bible, is the practice of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an essential character trait in the believer for their spiritual growth and development in Christ. And the great news is that thanksgiving does not just bring about spiritual health, but plays a key role in our physical and mental health.
(excerpted from http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Benefits-Of-Practicing-Gratefulness&id=836877)
Robert Emmons, University of California Davis psychology professor says that "gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research." He's found that there are a lot of benefits to having an attitude of gratefulness - it actually improves our physical and emotional health. "Grateful people," says Emmons, "take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular physical examinations." Research has also shown that feeling grateful helps us cope with daily hassles and reduces the stress that can build up so it doesn't lead to problems like heart disease and cancer. Having an optimistic, grateful attitude not only gives us a healthier immune system, we're also more likely to make progress on important goals we've set for ourselves. Grateful people report higher levels of "positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress" while not denying or ignoring the negative aspects of their lives. They've been found to be more empathetic, generous, helpful and "are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others." Additionally, Emmons found that those who attend religious services, pray or read religious materials are more likely to be grateful; being less materialistic and less likely to be envious or judge themselves or others based on material possessions.
Thanksgiving, is not just a holiday. Thanksgiving is a practiced way of life for those that take God's Word to heart... Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.