As the countdown to Christmas really begins this week, we have reached the ‘T’ of ‘Advent’: ‘Thankfulness’. Thankfulness and gratitude are so important to living well. Research tells us that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. It’s really about an attitude which helps us to see the bigger picture and understand our role in that.

The Christmas story reminds us that we are not at the centre of the universe. God is. It reminds us also that we are valued and loved, that we have purpose and meaning, and this helps us to live meaningful lives. We are not insignificant or unimportant; we matter to God so much that He gave His only Son to save us. The Christmas story is a love story. It’s not just about the love between Mary and Joseph or the love of parents for their child. It’s about the love of God the Father for humanity and about the extraordinary lengths He went to in order to invite us into His family.

That’s a lot to be thankful for!