The Power of a Thankful Heart
Former prime minister of India, Indira Ghandi said,
Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.
Expressing thanks is empowering and helps us keep perspective, even and especially in our extremity. When everything is going wrong is the exact time to count our blessings. We should also write them down to share with others, especially our family members.
Keeping a gratitude journal doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. You can simply keep a running list of blessings in your every day journal. Creating a special journal just for thanksgiving, either for your personally or to keep together with your family, is also appropriate. There are options for a gratitude “journal” that aren’t even a book at all!
Ask the Pilgrims
If there was any group of faith filled people who knew the meaning of extremity, it was the early Christian European Pilgrims who came to New England in the year 1620. In that first and second winter, their situation was dire. They had endured scant shelter from the winter storms, disease, lack of clothing and, certainly, lack of food. Before the celebration of what we think of as Thanksgiving was held, around half of their number had died from illness. Though, interestingly enough, none from starvation.
I’ve read some of the journal entries; I’ve studied the history. These were strong people, but no one down the corridors of time could justly point fingers at them should they have chosen to falter. Hunger does frightening things to people. The Pilgrims would have been well within their rights to find fault with their situation. It would seem natural if they had complained. I’m sure some did but, in the end, what we’re left with is their legacy of faith and gratitude.
Five Kernels of Corn
It became a tradition in New England to place five kernels of corn on each plate along with the feast at Thanksgiving. Why?
Because during those harsh days of their second winter, the food stores became so low that the ration for each person per day was five kernels of corn. Five kernels of corn. It’s staggering to think that anyone could survive on such fare.
As the years advanced, the Pilgrims wanted their children to never forget the sacrifices of those early days. As their posterity grew up free in a free land, those first fathers of the republic knew some important things. They knew that by creating a righteous tradition of gratitude, they would ensure that those dark days were not the victor. The victory went to the Light. So, from the second Thanksgiving on, on each plate was placed five kernels of corn.
In our house, every year, we place a card at everyone’s plate that reminds us of this story. On each plate is placed five kernels of corn. Before we devour our Thanksgiving bounty, even before we ask a blessing on the food, we go around the table to each person. We list at least five things for which we are thankful. The gratitude doesn’t have to be flashy or grand, just sincere.
Harvest Season E-Book of Abundance!
This is one of my favorite times of year, I must admit. In honor of the season, I’d like to share with you our tribute to gratitude and abundant living, Five Kernels of Corn. I hope this e-book will be a useful resource to you this season, or any time of year.
Walk with the Pilgrims, you family and your friends through ten separate invitations to set specific goals, including how to keep a gratitude journal, and complete useful projects. Also included are six suggested service projects, from crafty to practical, that can easily be completed with your family – kids included! Also tossed in just for fun is a delectable, traditional recipes and a free downloadable templates to make your holiday complete.
In whatever way is meaningful for your family, I invite you to consider at least five kernels of corn. The kernels represent five blessings (even though they may look like trials) for which you can express gratitude. Somehow, once you get going, it can be hard to limit it to just five. However, this is an exercise that can be repeated each day. Regardless of whether you use a gratitude journal or the back of a grocery store receipt.
If you feel comfortable, please share five of your kernels with us. What five things are you grateful for this season?
I’ll go first – Family, A warm home, A full larder, Faith and Nat King Cole (yes, I’m already listening to Christmas music). And you?
“Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. ”
– Bonnie D Parkin, religious leader and speaker