Happiness Doubled By Wonder
November 28, 2008
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought;
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.
We say “Thank you” so frequently and automatically
that it becomes all too easy to have the phrase mean nothing. “Thank
you for holding the door.” “Thank you for waiting.” “Thank
you for inviting me over.” The words become more the rote
fulfillment of an obligation than conveyors of any inward reality
or emotional outpouring.
G. K. Chesterton gives us a fresh view of thanks, claiming that
thanksgiving is “the highest form of thought.” Why?
One reason is that thanksgiving brings us outside of ourselves.
You cannot be thankful for something you did for yourself: you
are thankful for something someone else did for you. For the Christian,
thanksgiving is ultimately God-focused, looking to the one who
is the Divine Giver. As such, thanksgiving reinforces a proper
view of God and of ourselves, and in fact puts us in positive relationship
and communication with God himself.
Chesterton goes one step further, then, by defining gratitude
as “happiness doubled by wonder.” True thanksgiving
can never be mere words: it encompasses and reflects the soul.
Gratitude is an upwelling of the heart, and a realization that “every
good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming
down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation
or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).
- Have your prayers
of thanksgiving to God become dry or automatic? If so, why?
time thinking about the blessings that God has given you. Consider
what your life would be like without them – the
void and emptiness and pain and hardship you would experience
in their absence.
- Write out a prayer of thanksgiving in the
form of a psalm, going into detail why you are thankful for each
blessing, and expressing that thanks to the best of your ability.