Many recent studies have noted the benefits of being thankful in everyday life. In fact, Amy Morin writing for Forbes magazine compiled a list of the benefits of thankfulness in her article “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round,” providing peer-reviewed scientific studies to back up each claim. Here are the seven benefits Morin listed: 1. More friends 2. Improved physical health 3. Improved psychological health 4. Lowered aggression and increased empathy 5. Better sleep 6. Improved self-esteem 7. Increased mental strength and resiliency.

I’m sure the next two weeks will see a rash of new articles written on this topic as Americans approach Thanksgiving Day. But many of us intuitively recognize the benefits of thankfulness without reading any of these articles. We know we should be thankful, and yet we spend much of our lives mired in ungratefulness and thanklessness. If you are anything like me, it takes a conscious effort to give thanks. Even on Thanksgiving Day, many of us are busy cleaning our homes, cooking in the kitchen, watching parades and football, and stuffing our stomachs to the point of bursting. I have even experienced some Thanksgivings where everyone was so busy, we completely forgot to give thanks at all!

As Anglican Christians, however, we need to remember that Thanksgiving Day is first and foremost a feast day of the Church. In fact, there are some excellent resources in Book of Common Prayer to help us remember to give thanks on the day that has been set aside for just this purpose. I would encourage all of us to use two of these resources this Thanksgiving as we gather with family and friends. What would it look like to make thankfulness to God a bigger centerpiece in our homes than the turkey on the table? Here are two ways you can give thanks this Thanksgiving:

A Litany of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so
freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for Thanksgiving Day

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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The Rev. David Trautman is the rector (senior pastor) of Trinity since November 2016. He and his wife, Megan, previously served a congregation in Pittsburgh, PA. They are both Florida natives from the Tampa Bay area. While attending Florida State University, they were actively involved in planting an InterVarsity Chapter at FSU, which grew into one of the largest and most diverse chapters in Florida. David graduated from FSU with a double Major in Philosophy & Religious Studies. He then earned a Master’s degree in Religions of Western Antiquity with a focus on New Testament studies. He completed his seminary training with his wife at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, receiving his Masters in Sacred Theology in May of 2012. Megan graduated with her Masters in Divinity in May of 2013. While in seminary, David worked as the Director of Communications for the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh and Press Officer for Archbishop Robert Duncan. David and Megan have a passion for building authentic Christian community that reaches out in love for their neighbors (Acts 2:42–47). They have a particular heart for reaching the city of Thomasville with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. They have two children, with another arriving shortly! David and Megan love to travel and explore. David has been on several mission trips including, traveling to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Uganda, and most recently, leading a mission team to Ethiopia.