Next Thursday Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving Day, a festival that has been observed for nearly 500 years.
It has a lovely ring to it does Thanksgiving Day, for it reminds us that there is much to be thankful for, something we all too seldom acknowledge and rarely celebrate.
Most of us, it seems, are far too busy wishing we were someone or somewhere else, or fretting about what we don't have rather than being thankful for what we have.
As Daniel Defoe wrote: "All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have."
The first Thanksgiving, as Americans know it today, was held by those who became known as the Pilgrims in 1621 on the shores of Massachusetts Bay where they had established a village which they named Plymouth.
Throughout their first brutal winter, most of the colonists suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower's original 100 passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. All were weakened by malnutrition and illness.
Their first Thanksgiving celebrated their first corn harvest, meagre and all as it was, with prayer and feasting.
As the writer H.U. Westermayer wrote of the first year of settlement: "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
This is surely a lesson we could well relearn today. For those of us to whom gratitude - another word for thanksgiving - is a fundamental principle of life are blessed with much freer, much calmer, more contented, happier lives.
I begin every day thanking God that I'm alive to enjoy it; and before I go to sleep at night I praise him and thank him for another day, irrespective of what may have happened, or not.
I give thanks that daily my needs are being met: they are few - food, clothing, shelter and transport - and everything else is a bonus.
Yet for most folk there is never enough: the desire for better jobs, bigger houses, flasher cars, more luxurious holidays or more recognition all conspire to generate dissatisfaction and anxiety. Gratitude for what is, rather than craving for what might be, just isn't a consideration.
As the late Harry Ironside, an internationally known Bible teacher, preacher and theologian, wrote: "We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."
Another vital part of my philosophy, which gives rise to constant gratitude, is to live one day at a time.
Living one day at a time does not mean we ignore those things which are planned for our future, but it does mean that we compartmentalise those things into daily doses and don't spend our valuable daily time in needless anxiety about whether our plans will come to fruition.
In due course they either will or they won't but it will not be for want of daily attention to our tasks.
Similarly, an unhealthy preoccupation with the events of our yesterdays will generate only anger, guilt and remorse - emotions which are terribly destructive to our wellbeing and which should be dealt with each day. Otherwise they can turn into resentments, the most crippling emotion of all, which bring pain to us day in and day out.
But when we are daily grateful for all that we have, genuinely contrite over our failings of the past, and unvaryingly hopeful of what we might achieve, we can live a life of contentment and fulfilment.
Perhaps the author G.K. Chesterton put it best when he wrote: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."