5 Senses Thanksgiving
—A Spiritual Exercise
Every day is filled with happy moments that we could thank God for, if we paused to acknowledge them. This thanksgiving exercise is based on what we perceive through our five traditional senses.
Many things are beautiful to behold, whether natural sights such as trees and flowers, created works such as art and architecture, or the sight of a friend or home after an absence. What pleasurable sights lined your path today? Thank God for them.
The warble of birds, the sound of music, or a loved one’s voice on the phone can bring a smile. What were the sounds that brought you pleasure today? Thank God for them.
When God provided food for the Israelites during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness, it seems He was not only concerned with providing sustenance, but also something tasty. The psalmist later called manna, the mystery food that appeared on the ground each morning, “angels’ food.” In another passage we are
1 told that “its taste was like the taste of pastry.”
2 Think back over what you ate and drank today. What flavors and textures did you enjoy? Thank God for them.
The sense of smell is evocative. Freshly mown grass reminds us of summer; a certain perfume or cologne may remind us of a loved one or friend; the smell of a certain food can conjure up places and experiences from our past.
What good smells came your way today? What happy thoughts did they trigger? Thank God for them.
We see only with our eyes, smell only with our noses, taste only with our mouths, and hear only with our ears, but the sense of touch is transmitted through tiny nerve endings that cover us from head to toe. Each fingertip alone has around 2500 receptors.
Our days are filled with touch. We brush our child’s hair and feel its softness. We hold a mug of warm tea or coffee. We splash cool water on our face on a hot day. What special experiences did you have today thanks to your sense of touch? Thank God for those. To develop this exercise further, consider starting a sensory thanksgiving notebook. Each evening, jot down your day’s experiences of each sense. Just a word or two may be sufficient; it’s the moments of appreciative reflection that make this exercise valuable.
Abi F. May is an educator and author in Great Britain, and an Activated staff writer.