I’ve gotta say… for all the junk and crazy-making stuff that floats around on facebook, i’m finding the daily ‘thankful’ posts a blessed relief. In case you haven’t noticed–many people challenge themselves, during the month of November, to give thanks for something every day of the month. People share their gratitude for everything from health and family to simple daily blessings–good food, good coffee, the smell of laundry on a weekday evening. All told, sifting through my newsfeed these days, i find an on-going litany of our many gifts and graces.
Starting out, 30 days may sound like a long time to give thanks. But really, once you start, it’s hard to stop at 30.
I like to think that people of faith try to practice gratitude all year long–and not just when it is #trending. When you approach thanks in this daily fashion, it isn’t just about thanking people for what they do for you—although that is important! Nor is it just about saying prayers of thanksgiving to God—also very important. Practicing gratitude is less about a single action, and more about how we move through the world. Living in gratitude means noticing every little thing as a gift; recognizing how much we have, before we wish or want for something else; and above all, it means knowing that we are stewards of everything we have…and sharing it accordingly.
It is a spiritual discipline– to be thankful in all things, at all times, and not just when the season calls for it. It makes us more generous, and it also makes us much happier. Once you get into the habit on focusing on the abundance of your life, you find a deeper contentment, an abiding sense of purpose, and an overwhelming sense of joy. In the simplest of everyday things, you begin to glimpse the holy.
It is hard to be in a bad mood when you’re giving thanks. It is hard to focus on those little aches and pains when you’re looking at the bigger picture of grace. It is nearly impossible to want for any little thing, when you’re saying a big loud ‘hallelujah’ for every little thing. Every day, all year long, we can practice this litany of abundance. And we can be transformed.
Do you engage in the discipline of gratitude? I’d love to hear about how you practice thanksgiving, how it has enriched your life, and how it has enabled you to share with– and better serve– others.
Here’s a link to Elli’s blog