Life is filled with simple blessings, moment by moment, which easily slip by without affirmation or acknowledgement: light shining on waves breaking off-shore; the soft, gentle touch of a comforting hand; the delight of jovial seniors splashing in a water aerobics class; the sound of rain on the roof; the flash of lightening illuminating the clouds; the first sip of coffee (tea, chia tea…) in the morning; the click of animal paws approaching to greet you at the door upon arrival; the smell of bacon in the morning (or anytime).
We let the press of tasks obscure the blessing of our ability to perform them. We can allow the weight of responsibilities we bear to shield us from the treasures we can realize from attending others. Within all that we do, wherever we are, all around us are gifts calling for celebration.
A holiday was even established to remind us to focus our attention or life’s giftedness, Thanksgiving. But as humans often do, we jump right into “holiday mode”: event planning, preparations, travel, family site negotiations, feasts, entertainment (football), “photo opps” for Facebook posting, clothing selection and the accompanying stress/angst.
So, I am suggesting a season of practicing giving thanks, gratitude exercise before Thanksgiving; little “gratitude advent.” Over the next two and a half weeks, I would invite you to raise your gratitude radar and highlight the “little, moment by moment blessings.” Plan time for a little inventory of the blessings of the day.
- At the end of each day or,
- Before each meal or,
- Set an hourly alarm to invite you to review blessings you took for granted in the last hour, and say thanks or,
- Set up a daily phone call with a friend to share blessings
Pause and relish in gratitude: the smile of a friend you sit next to in worship; a song you find yourself singing along to; the leaves of fall; the starry sky; crisp air; fall flavors; people who are serving others; a kind waiter/waitress; a heart-pumping run or walk or swim; a laughing snort that brings more laughter; the smells while you cook; the songs you sing when you travel; the energy of people shopping to prepare for a feast.
May your “gratitude advent” be rich and full and baste Thanksgiving with a deep awareness of being blessed.