Our theme for Advent is prayer and this morning I’d like to think about gratitude. Paul says in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
This is great advice – it has been shown by psychologists that if we do this we will change our lives. Like all spiritual practices it is extremely hard work. Our brains are wired to register and store all the negative things – perhaps to keep us safe – the positive things just drop away as if they never happened. So we need to work at remembering them and savouring them. Even in the darkest days there are good things that happen.
Alan and I have found that the best way is to try to recall fifteen good things at the end of the day. To find fifteen is difficult – it requires us to drill down through the day and find all that was good – to miss nothing and enjoy everything. Only then do we have a true perspective on what the day was really like.