In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Thanksgiving’ as in… being thankful for the encounter with Something-Far-Greater than ourselves and being grateful.

A recent conversation about thanksgiving and the practice of gratitude prompted the question, “Is there a difference between gratitude and thankfulness?” I believe there is. It’s subtle, but there is an important difference.

Thankfulness is what we experience when a friend speaks just the right words at just the right moment; words of affirmation, absolution, direction, insight, guidance, and love, which causes us to respond with ‘thank you.’ Thankfulness happens at that moment. Thankfulness is my response to the barista who knows it’s me in the drive-through, and with a welcoming voice, calls me by name and says, “Good morning, Paul!” and then asks if I’m having “the usual.” Thankfulness happens at that moment. Thankfulness happens in little moments like these, countless instances that make us aware that we’re now beyond where we thought we would be a moment ago.

That’s where gratitude happens.

Gratitude is having a deep appreciation for our relationships with friends who always know what to say, when, and even how to say it. Gratitude happens at that moment. Gratitude is the profound reverence we have for life no matter our circumstances because gratitude always transcends the particular details of our daily lives and reminds us of the universal truth that life is precious and that the breath we breathe is a gift. Gratitude happens at that moment.

We experience gratitude long after the dark roast has worked its magic, and we savor the joy of something as simple as another person knowing our name and welcoming us into the moment. Gratitude happens at that moment.

If thankfulness begins in the mind, first as a cognitive impulse leading to a verbal response of the words thank you, then gratitude settles into the heart where there are no words because what we’re experiencing is beyond any human vocabulary. Gratitude happens at that moment when we close our eyes, receive a big deep breath, and encounter Something-Far-Greater than ourselves. Gratitude always takes us far beyond where we thought we would go.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.


Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search