Taking time to marvel is a way to step off the hamster wheel. Instead of feeling like we’re missing out, or looking to the “next thing” that might scratch that hedonic itch over and over again, it dawns on us that we are already surrounded by marvelous, normal things. Instead of taking things for granted, we feel thankful. Wonder catalyzes gratitude.
Thankfulness is not just an action we perform, but rather a disposition of life that, Lord willing, increases over time and shapes our responses to our experiences more and more readily. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). That daily petition is completed by daily gratitude for the daily bread God does supply, tracing the pattern on our hearts until the thankfulness comes easy, like the fit of a well-worn pair of shoes.
Growing up in a Christian subculture prone to both kitsch and mnemonic devices, I was subjected early on to many cringe-worthy didactic moments. One shining example was a motivational poster on the wall that asked, “Do you have an attitude of gratitude?” The subtext seemed to be, “We know how to make