Wednesdays with Jillene: thanksgiving (with a lowercase t)

Here is my “bah, humbug” moment: I didn’t used to like holidays.

There sure are a lot of holidays in a calendar year and, for many years, while I enjoyed the days off work and school, I didn’t like celebrating holidays.

They seemed quite forced. Perhaps worse, they felt fake.

I espoused some form of utopian ideal that we should be celebrating these things every day instead of just once a year. What if mothers felt loved every day instead of merely the second Sunday in May? Imagine the difference it would make if we celebrated a person’s life or the value of relationship on daily basis as opposed to once a year? Can you fathom how centered our lives would be to remember the life-altering gift of Jesus and the love of our Father EVERY morning instead of every December? To be thankful in ALL circumstances surely needn’t wait until Thanksgiving Day, am.I.right?!

One major kink in my philosophy… I wasn’t living it.

So as much as my grinch-like heart felt that holidays could take a vacation, my daily living proved them sorely needed! Over time, perhaps due to increasing age or the addition of children, I’m growing quite fond of celebrating holidays because they help me remember and practice what I know to be true. Yet, experience and example show me that without daily living holidays can still be empty shells.

A few years ago I was blessed to read Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts.” One Thousand Gifts is the celebration of thankfulness found in the blessings and the art of giving thanks in daily living. I encourage you to take the time, give it a read, (and what’s more) take up the dare on the front cover:

A DARE TO LIVE FULLY

RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE

Because, who doesn’t need that? At our core, aren’t many of us crying out to “live fully?” Don’t we long to do much more than survive but to truly thrive?!  For Ann, that comes when thanksgiving becomes thanksliving.

As we approach the celebration of Thanksgiving Day and prepare to give thanks for the blessings of the past year, will you look with me to thanksgiving, with a lower case t? Thanks that extends beyond one day, beyond reflections shared at one meal but moves into the every day, the every minute, the every breath… thereby becoming thanksliving.

How will you live thanksgiving, with a lower case t?

~Jillene

P.S.- for me (in case you were wondering), I’m going to take up the challenge of discovering my one thousand gifts by intentionally practicing the joy of thanksgiving through thanksliving by finding, at least, three things to be thankful for each day. I’ve had an app on my phone for way too long that’s gone unused… and a heart and spirit calling for that to change.

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