Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect on all for which we are grateful. Some years it is easy to come up with a list. Those years it can feel like we have so many blessings to name it may almost be hard to decide where to begin. Other years, it can be a challenge to find much more to be grateful for than "I woke up today."
If you're someone that is full of joy this season and have much to be grateful for, share your joy with others. Perhaps you do that by paying it forward. Maybe it’s through helping someone with their children. Possibly it’s by donating financially. It could be though providing a listening ear for someone struggling. When we reflect on our own blessings, we are reminded that we are created in community and need each other. Spreading some of our joy can lead to someone else having something to be grateful for.
On the other hand, if simply saying “I woke up today” is all you have this year, start there. Name it. Claim it. This time of year can be a hard reminder that you’re in a challenging season of life. Some years aren't as bountiful as others. It's okay for us to grieve the loss of loved ones, loss of a job, end of a relationship, or the unfulfillment of some of our dreams and desires. We are allowed to mourn. But we mourn as people of hope. If you're in the space that this holiday season is hard, join me at "Grief & the Holidays” or attend a Blue Christmas/Longest Night worship service at a church nearby. Some years it may feel like the tears flow more freely than the blessings.
Regardless where you are – with a long gratitude list or a list with only one item – let’s join in the practice of finding gratitude. By creating a gratitude list each day we will shift our mindset to move forward and find the positives in life. Gratitude can change us. It improves our physical health. We sleep better. It increases our empathy. It decreased our aggression. It has positive impacts on our life in a multitude of ways.
So whether gratitude comes easy or hard for you this year, begin there. Name one thing. Join me in finding gratitude this season.