Robert Emmons, often referred to as a “gratitude doctor,” has been researching the power of gratitude for more than 10 years. The psychology professor at the University of California, points to the results of several studies — of more than 2,000 people — that show that the benefits of gratitude are quite significant. “People are 25% happier and more energetic if they keep gratitude journals, have 20% less envy and resentment, sleep 10% longer and wake up 15% more refreshed, exercise 33% more (okay not sure how that’s a positive) and show a 10% drop in blood pressure compared to people who do not keep a gratitude journal.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving… one more gratitude list.
1) I am thankful for my family. We had two fantastic days in Pittsburgh, just the six of us. From the Cheesecake Factory to sharing hilarious Youtube videos, to monkey rolls for breakfast followed by turkey and the trimmings; from a 3.5 hour Phase Ten game — kind of like Monopoly for dummies — to a late showing of Unstoppable, followed by — yes I went — shopping at midnight at the Grove City Outlets. Great days!
2) I am thankful that my alma mater is in the second round of the Division 3 football playoffs. In fact I’m thankful that they made it in Sports Illustrated. If you get the magazine, it’s the football snow game. Last time Bethel made it in Sports Illustrated was 1980. I was a freshman we were playing Macalester and SI was there thinking Mac might break their recording-making loss streak. Yeah we beat them. Today Bethel plays Wheaton in the second round of the playoffs. Oh yeah, I’m also thankful there is no Div3 BCS.
3) I am thankful for my church family. Last weekend — in response to a last minute appeal to meet a local food shelf need — Calvary folks brought in over 200 bags of groceries! Estimated value of over $5000. One of the team who helped unload said, “It took three of us 45 minutes to unload. They were overwhelmed, in a good way!” It’s such a great reminder to me of what a blessing we can be — together.
4) I am thankful that No-Shave-November is almost over.
5) I am thankful for all the children that are being added to the Calvary family through adoption. Actually I’m thankful for all the children being added! But I love the fact that the adoption virus is spreading. It seems like every where I look, there is another family deciding to adopt — Philippines, Ukraine, Ethiopia, China, the US and more. It’s hard to keep track. In our 1% offering we have a chance to help more families through this expensive process.
6) I am thankful that Calvary family also includes people from around the world, including Rwanda, The Dominican Republic, and Myanmar. Personally I’m thankful for my friends from Myanmar. They are an inspiration to me and they give me hope for God’s work in the country of Myanmar. They not only are caring for the poor, and the orphans, they also have a passion to see more people know Jesus.
7) I am thankful for all the people who give to our 1% offering to serve those in need around the world. In fact it’s not only Calvary people who give. The first gifts to the 1% offering this year are coming from Betsy Coyle — PSU/Calvary alum — who shared the 1% idea with her LifeGroup in Miami!
And finally, I’m thankful, not just for the gifts, but even more for the giver of the gifts. I didn’t earn the blessings for which I’m thankful, they are a gift from the giver of every good gift, and as we head into Christmas, I am reminded of the greatest gift of all. Jesus.