With the rise of social media over the past decade, 30 Days of Gratitude has been a November trend developing over the past few years that perhaps you’ve noticed (or even been a part of yourself). It’s where those participating choose to share through social media a different blessing each day of the month for which they’re thankful. Though I find myself often skeptical of the bandwagon mentality and occasionally concerned about such posts crossing the fine line between gratitude and boasting, there’s actually some clinical evidence that a habitual practice of expressing gratitude can make us both happier and healthier, and so I’ve decided that I’m going to lay aside my contrarian streak and give it a try this year, starting right here with this column.
Day #1 – November 1st is All Saints’ Day in the Christian Church (and the origin of Halloween the night before), though we tend to observe it in worship on the first Sunday of November. All Saints’ Day is a time for recalling and giving thanks to God for the lives and deaths of all of those who have come before us and exemplified what it means to be a person of faith in their lives and in their deaths, whether famous or obscure. It also serves as a reminder to us that they remain with us as a part of the eternal Church in Heaven, cheering us on as we navigate our faith journeys, and that we, too, will be joined with them once again when our time on earth is through.
So, I find it extremely fitting that this month of thanksgiving should begin with All Saints’ Day. Today I am grateful for the multitude of saints with whom I have had the privilege to share this journey and from whom I have learned so much. I’m grateful for their diversity in age, gender, calling, denominational families, personalities, talents, foibles, and shortcomings. They’ve taught me that there is no one ‘right’ way of seeking God’s path or following Jesus, but just to be authentic to God’s call through the prophet Micah to all mortals: “to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”
Specific names, faces, laughter, and voices uplifted in song come to mind and I won’t list them here because I want to encourage you to consider those in your faith journey who have helped you celebrate the triumphs and wiped your tears during the trials of your life thus far. The beauty of following where Christ leads is that we never have to travel alone. I invite you to join me this month in 30 Days of Gratitude. I’ll be sharing mine on my Facebook page. If you’d like to follow along, I’d be grateful.