Really seeing the needy can help. Reflection can help. A person on the edge of despair may come to treasure quite ordinary things. (Academics and Dogbert call this “cognitive dissonance”. )
That allowed, gratitude often arises from disasters that disabuse people of the illusion that they deserve that pumpkin pie. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed America's national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, in the midst of bloody civil war. Martin Rinkart wrote the song, "Now Thank We All Our God," following the horror of the Thirty Years War during which he conducted about 4,480 funerals in his town.
So how does gratitude arise in the needy, in the disappointed, in the cynical? Christians account for such a flower rising from such a desert as a work of God’s Holy Spirit.
Encouragement helps gratitude grow. Following are some tunes that I've found to goose my gratitude.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with joy;
come before him with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we belong to him;
we are his people, the sheep he tends.
Come into his city with songs of thanksgiving
and into his courtyards with songs of praise.
Thank him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. His love is forever,
and his loyalty goes on and on.