I know many people in our church have a practice of giving thanks. Just before they go to bed they list the good things that have happened during the day. They count their blessings.
In that spirit these are some of the things I have been giving thanks for during November:
The warm and busy atmosphere at our Winter Fair: the singing, the laughter, the cakes and the scones. Anne and Michael working so hard in the kitchen. Some Irish accents I overheard. A chance encounter with an ex-colleague.
Russet apples. Brighton Library. Candle light.
A deep blue scarf I bought on a hot summer’s day in Whitby.
Hearing Aretha Franklin on the radio; her sublime timing, the little adventures she makes out of each line. I Say A little Prayer For You.
It turns out that giving thanks is good for us. Scientific studies show that a simple regular habit of giving thanks has benefits not just for our mental wellbeing, but also for the immune system, blood pressure and heart health. Gratitude is good for the soul too. When we give thanks we acknowledge that there are good things in our lives we can never own or control. We take time to notice the things we take for granted, to treasure the elusive and the marginal. A practice of gratitude reminds us that the world is so often abundant and kind and wildly beautiful. Giving thanks slows us down and opens our hearts.
The days are getting colder and darker. Christmas will bring its pressures and its parties, its lists of jobs. Yet its meaning is the presence of the divine among us, the reliable gift of the sacred in our daily lives. Let us give thanks for it each day. As Thic Nhat Hanh says They don’t publish the good news. The good news is published by us.