BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER
When I was growing up, we would spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s extended family. We would all hold hands before we prayed over the meal and each share one thing we were thankful that year. Not gonna lie, I do really well with this kind of expression of gratitude. I’d wax about how thankful I truly was for my family, my education, etc.
But cultivating an attitude of thankfulness beyond Thanksgiving is really hard. I get consumed with the magic of Christmas, then the gray, snowy fog of January through March, and I just sort of forget about it. I don’t think I’m alone here.
Ann Voskamp writes beautifully about gratitude and joy in her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. She says a lot of very lovely and profound things about grace and gratitude and you should absolutely read it. She also talks about the Joy Dare. In her Joy Dare, she challenges readers to write down 3 things they are grateful every day for a year, totally one thousand gifts by then. She even gives prompts, for the days when gratitude is hard, when it doesn’t seem like there is anything to be thankful for.
So here’s a challenge for you, Grace friends. Be grateful in December too. Print out the Joy Dare if you get stuck. But be grateful for 3 things every day. Find thanks and joy in the midst of (and even despite) the crazy Christmas traffic, seeing the relatives you haven’t seen a year, trying to buy Christmas gifts, and dealing with your kids on holiday break. Extend thanksgiving – eucharisto, communion. Give grace and thanks.
Questions for Reflection:
Is it hard for you to stay in a gratitude state-of-mind once we move into the Christmas season?
Share the Gratitude Challenge with a friend and keep each other accountable through December! Grab a coffee together in January and discuss how this practice affected your holiday season.
What are some ways to cultivate a spirit of gratitude with your whole family?
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Book)
52 Weeks of Gratitude (Book)
Choosing Gratitude (Book)
365 Gratitude Journal (App)
Grateful (Sermon Series)