Dear Members and Friends of Ark and Dove,
 
Gratitude leads to happiness, not necessarily the other way around. This is widely agreed upon by many, from religious gurus to researchers. For this reason, people take on gratitude challenges (posting on social media things for which they are grateful) or end an evening listing thanksgivings from the day in a journal. Life circumstances don't always beget gratitude, but gratitude can improve life circumstances.
 
Thankfulness can also make us more generous. Researchers Michael McCullough and Jo-Ann Tsang found the following in studying gratitude: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others. It turns out that thanksgiving can help us in those difficult conversations that often occur around Thanksgiving tables.
 
Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to concentrate on gratitude for a day. It would be more wonderful if we could make it a concentration of our daily lives. Maybe we would be more generous in giving, empathetic in understanding, and helpful in effort. It is all too easy for us to move from Thanksgiving to getting, in the Christmas season. That is why the Advent season is ever important. It begins this Sunday. In Advent, we watch and wait for the gift(s) of God in Christ. It is time to gratefully anticipate, that we might be truly thankful on Christmas morn. I invite you to worship this Advent as we light candles, praying O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
 
There are great opportunities to give this Advent and Christmas season. Please participate in #GivingTuesday and support ministry and mission at Ark and Dove or the Christmas Joy offering.
 
I pray you have a happy, a truly happy Thanksgiving.
 
Peace,
 
Jon
jgnelson1985@gmail.com