For some people, Thanksgiving is the day when you stand and make a formal declaration of thankful things. I've never been one to compile a Thanksgiving day laundry list of things. Like New Years resolutions (another exercise I whole-heartedly do NOT endorse), being thankful should ongoing event -- much like breathing -- and not an activity you engage in once a year because the television or the calendar or the daily devotion tells you so.
Thankful things are things that exist just because or in spite of. They are a wonderful blessing, but because they are intangible, they are hard to see. It's one thing to be thankful for specific people, but it's quite another to be thankful for the goodness and light they bring to your own. It's one thing to be thankful for specific items or events, but it's quite another to be thankful for the impact they have had on your life.
Discovering thankful things requires looking inside oneself and recognizing positive forces and influences. It means accepting that you are so much more than a Proper Noun. You're a verb. You're in motion -- growing, changing, evolving. Once you accept that, you can sense the thankful things that surround you and recognize how they work and move in concert within your own life.
But don't be content with the discovery of thankful things. Work to be be a thankful thing. Work to do things that will bring goodness and light and love and hope to others. It can be difficult to do for others without the guarantee of thanks or recognition. It's easy to get discouraged. But remember it is the tiny drop-drop-drop of water that can transform a rough rock into a beautiful shiny smooth stone.
Don't make a list.
Don't make a speech.
Recognize thankful things at work in your life.
and then strive to be one for others.
In spite of.
It's not easy. But it is right.