“Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.”

— Joseph Wood Krutch

Thanksgiving Day is over.  We have eaten too much, hopefully as an expression of the abundance that is ours.  We have paused to think of all the reasons we have to be thankful.  We have gathered with family and friends and taken the time to express our gratitude for the part they play in our lives.  The leftovers are packed away and will provide many delicious meals before they are gone.  In the silence that follows the celebration, there is a feeling of contentment in the air.  It is easy to be happy with such wonderful memories fresh in our minds.

I suppose you could say that days like Thanksgiving make us happy; but I think happiness is not so much something that happens to us, but more something we choose.  When we are filled with gratitude, being happy is simply an extension of that overflowing warmth — in fact, I think it is true that happiness is in itself a kind of gratitude.  Just as we choose to be grateful for the good things that come our way, we can choose to be happy.  The choice is easier on days when there is so much to encourage us, but we can choose to find reasons to be happy on our darkest days as well.

Now that the official day for Thanksgiving is over, I think it would be a perfect time to commit to choosing happiness.  In order to do this, we must cultivate gratitude.  I like to challenge myself from time to time in ways that raise my awareness of the blessings in my life.  I will begin today, while the memory of the good feelings of happiness are fresh, to recognize at least one thing each day that makes me grateful.  I will speak it out loud and let my ears take it in.  I will tuck it away in my gratitude bank and let happiness be the interest it earns.  I will choose the sort of gratitude that I call happiness.

Today I am grateful for the way the sunlight glistens on the frosty leaves.