The season of Thanksgiving is upon us. Pretty soon it'll be coming on Christmas and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season will be in full swing. The words "Tis the Season" will appear on every storefront, church doorstep, and front door that we step over the threshold of and people will talk about peace, goodwill, and brotherhood to all men. But if you're anything like me, I suspect that you might approach the holidays with a mixed set of emotions. The stress of hosting dinner for relatives, family, and loved ones flying in from all over is only rivaled by the mental image of everyone sitting around a great big table with all the fixins' and second helpings one's heart could desire. Amid the robust holiday cheer and lovely sentiment, I think sometimes we forget that for some people the holiday season is a very difficult time. Not everything that happens to us in life is joyous and it can be hard to find reason to be thankful. However, it is in those moments that we have to purpose in our hearts not to become bitter and discouraged. Purposeful Thanksgiving has a way of breaking through the clouds and causing the sun to shine once again. An attitude of gratitude may not change our present circumstances but it can help calm our emotions, reset our priorities, and accentuate the positives rather than the negatives. As Dr. Maya Angelou said "you can be changed by what happens to you but you can refuse to be reduced by it." In watching past episodes of Oprah's Life Class this week, I was reminded of the value of gratitude when popular life coach and relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant said that "joy is always pregnant with possibility." In other wards, joy is a window that opens unto our dreams, hopes, and visions of the highest possibilities for our lives. And when we live out a space of gratitude we free other people to be who they really are. Joy is contagious and when we traffic in a lifestyle of gratitude our cup simply overflows. Imagine what your life would be like if you heart was constantly swelling with joy? What would you do, where would you go, and how would you relate to others if you lived out of a spirit of gratitude? On this thanksgiving let us pause with our families to recount the many blessings God has bestowed upon us and offer a prayer of thanks. Let us show our love and appreciation for one another and extend our hands to others. I pray the light of God's love fills your heart this Thanksgiving and that you experience a profound sense of wonder, joy, magic, and excitement this holiday season.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Joyce A. Boahene

President of Count It All Joy