Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Sunday Simple Suggestion (#181)... Develop your own gratitude practice

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. Unlike our American friends down south, we have it in October, perhaps because our growing season is shorter up here, and harvest is usually finished (or nearly so) by the second weekend of the month. We gather to enjoy our produce, our families and friends, and to give thanks for the abundance with which we have been blessed by a gracious God.

"Thanksgiving begins where my sense of entitlement ends," says the signboard on the Mennonite Church on the corner... and it's so true. When we stop and really think about it, we are not entitled to anything. When we arrive on the planet, we have done nothing to deserve anything. As we grow, we learn and progress as human beings, but would that be the case if we didn't have the abundance of resources the earth provides? Air, warmth, light, water, shelter, food, clothing -- we cannot create these out of our imaginations. We depend on each other, on our planet's resources, and, whether we believe or not, on the Creator of everything.

I've had a rule not to make any Simple Suggestions on Sundays, except for today. This weekend I'm inviting my readers to celebrate Thanksgiving by starting a gratitude practice.

My parents started one for my kids on a camping trip. When it was time for night prayers, they said the girls' usual prayers with them, and then invited them to name one thing from their day for which they were grateful... and it stuck. We don't say night prayers together very often anymore, but when we do, we all name at least one thing for which we thank God.

I learned not long ago that my eldest daughter also had a gratitude box under her bed, into which she put slips of paper to remind her of "grateful moments" in her life. I have a journal in which I often write about my own "grateful moments." (I had a special one this past week, which you'll read about on Tuesday, I promise.) It really doesn't take much to get into the habit of being thankful.

As much as we've been brainwashed into turkey and all the trimmings, Thanksgiving isn't about those incidentals. So why not counter consumer culture with a smaller Thanksgiving feast -- and more gratitude? Today's challenge is to start your own practice (choose your own frequency) of thanksgiving.

I know I've posted this song (several times) before, but I can't help myself this time of year. To all my Canadian Moodlings followers, a Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Click here.

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