Confession of the day: I am a liturgigeek. I love the liturgical calendar, the rhythms and the rituals, the traditions, and the stability that it provides in my life. Now we’re in ordinary time, one of those 33-34 weeks that isn’t Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter. When we’re in those seasons other than ordinary time, my spiritual life tends to be, well, stronger. I use an Advent wreath, I celebrate Christmas and the holy days that follow, I increase spiritual practices during Lent, and I experience the joy of Easter. Now we’re back in ordinary time (which isn’t, fyi, supposed to mean “ordinary” and daily), and I’m getting lazy. The Christmas in July thing always seemed a bit silly to me, but Thanksgiving in July? As they say in Spanish, como no? Why not?
Regarding gratitude, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun notes that
It is a discipline to choose to stitch our days together with the thread of gratitude. But the decision to do so is guaranteed to stitch us closer to God. Attend to the truth that “bidden or unbidden, God is present.” (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us).*
Gratitude has also gotten some attention recently. Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Love Fully Right Where You Are got a lot of reviews in the Christian blogosphere and the book world when it came out ,and is in the top ten book sellers at amazon. While it’s not high on my theology reading list, I appreciate her premise that writing 1,000 things to be grateful for increases your spiritual and personal well-being.
So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to use this blog to post gratitudes periodically. I invite you to join me in the comments, via email, or privately. No particular order here.
1. Hot showers
2. Cleaning products that care for my body and make me smile
3. Clean towels, especially warm out of the dryer
4. A shower curtain with dancing monkeys on it. Again, the smile factor here.
5. A toothbrush holder with the same monkey pattern
6. A pink toothbrush
7. Quality dental care that insurance mostly pays for
8. Regular access to a dentist whom I like and trust
9. A job flexible enough that allows me to visit said dentist when I need to
10. Minty fresh toothpaste and the ability to choose one I like out of many/having access to many places where I can buy it
Law: Not sure there is law in this one. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong.
Gospel: God gives us so many ways to draw closer to Him. Each of the liturgical seasons, i.e, all the time throughout our lives, offers the chance to chance to explore and practice many disciplines.
Blessing: May you experience much to be thankful for, and may you have the insight and inspiration to give thanks to God. May you draw closer to Him and sense His loving presence. Amen.
*As a side note, if you haven’t read this, I highly recommend it. It describes 62 spiritual disciplines with pointed questions and guided exercises. This is one I come back to again and again. For my local readers, it’s available both at the La Crosse public library and the English Lutheran Church library.
And as another side note, I tend to use masculine pronouns for God/Jesus and feminine for the Holy Spirit. This is what I grew up with, and for me is comfortable and familiar. I don’t have strong opinions on the issue of God and gender, but feel I need to make this caveat for those who might.