A Holiday message from Chaplain Jack

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Alex Jack
  • 434th ARW Chaplain's office
Thanksgiving is a time for food, family, fellowship and faith. Maybe you have certain traditions that you follow each year that make this time of year special.
My wife's family gathers every year in Richmond, Kentucky for a big get-together. It's a lot of fun, and a great time to reconnect and eat way more food than anyone needs. Even though the travel will be tiring, and engaging with folks can at times be stressful, I'm looking forward to it.
I've always enjoyed large family gatherings for the holidays. However, you may not have that opportunity, or that may not be your tradition.
However you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, I encourage you to keep a couple of thoughts in mind. The first is that not everyone will have a happy time. We have families that are separated due to deployment and families who may be missing loved ones. If you are so inclined, say a prayer for them. If you are able, invite them to be a part of your celebration. Be the reason someone else gives thanks.
And second, don't forget to take some time to count your blessings. No matter where you are in life, you have something to be thankful for.

As New York Times best-selling author Andrew Merle says, "If you concentrate on what you have, you'll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you'll never have enough."
He then lists some ways to develop a mindset of gratitude.
•Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for.
•Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for.
•Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment.
•Start a gratitude journal - Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about.
•Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
•Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you - oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged, and yet it happens far too infrequently!