382) G. K. Chesterton on Gratitude

One of my favorite things about G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) is his gratitude for every day and every good gift of God. He writes about ordinary life in a way that reminds us to be grateful.  Here is some of what he said on the subject of gratitude:

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.


You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.


I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. 


The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and, there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.

We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent thing, not at the mere exception.  We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse.  We should wonder less at the earthquake, and wonder more at the earth.


When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.
Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?



Once I looked down at my bootlaces.
Who gave me my bootlaces?
The bootmaker?  Bah!
Who gave the bootmaker himself?
What did I ever do that I should be given bootlaces?



Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?


     Every little thing proved to Chesterton the loving care of God.  In this way, he was like a guest who arrives at a house and carefully notices everything that has been done for him:  “Oh, I love the little soaps you put out!  Why, there are flowers in my room!  A mint is on my pillow!  You didn’t have to go to all this trouble!”  Why is it that we are thankful for the towel left folded on the foot of our bed when we are staying at someone’s house, but we are not thankful for the dew left on the grass in the morning?  Both were done because someone was excited to have us here.  –source lost


Colossians 3:17  —  Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

James 1:17  —  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Psalm 103:2  —  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.


Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made.  We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.  And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages.  Amen.

–Book of Common Prayer