Thankful Advent Calendar

The Christian writer G. K. Chesterton had the right idea when he said we need to get in the habit of “taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted.” Gratitude puts everything in a fresh perspective; it enables us to see the many blessings all around us. And the more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.

Giving thanks takes practice, however. We get better at it over time. Gratitude is one of the key markers of the spiritual life we include in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. It is essential if we are to read the sacred significance of our daily lives.

Dec. 1: Express your gratitude in a note or a phone call to a person whose ministry in daily life nurtures your faith.

Dec. 2: Take time to enjoy something you own but have ignored and express your gratitude by dusting it off and using it.

Dec. 3: Go on a quiet, meditative walk through your house. Stop and say prayers of thanks for all the good experiences you have had in each room.

Dec. 4: While you are eating a meal, be grateful for the food by savouring each piece with all your senses.

Dec. 5: Choose one thing you use every day — perhaps a phone, a bag, or a cooking pot — and say a prayer over it, acknowledging how it helps you serve others and God.

Dec. 6: Wash your car or clean your telephone and tell God how much you appreciate how these things help you make connections with other people.

Dec. 7: Show your gratitude for the gifts of nature by incorporating some of them — leaves, twigs, acorns, rocks, sand — into a table centerpiece.

Dec. 8: Find a special way to express your gratitude to a part of your body; for example, give your feet a good massage.

Dec. 9: Convey to your pets how grateful you are to have their company in your daily life.

Dec. 10: Write a letter of appreciation to an author whose book has been an inspiration to you. Send it through his/her website.

Dec. 11 Give thanks for peace, and the peacemakers in your life.

Dec. 12: Pass on a gift that you have received but that is sitting unused in a closet. Keeping gifts in circulation is a sign of gratitude.

Dec. 13: After seeing a movie or watching a TV program that touches your soul, say a prayer of thanks for the writer, director, actors, and actresses.

Dec. 14: Write a letter to a relative in which you acknowledge the special role he or she plays in your family circle.

Dec. 15: Write a tribute in your journal to the person — living or dead — who has lifted your spirits and helped you understand that you are a child of God.

Dec. 16: Write in your journal about a difficult person (even an enemy) who has taught you something you needed to know about yourself and/or your community. End your entry with an expression of gratitude for this insight.

Dec. 17: Go out of your way to say thank you when you receive good service at a grocery store, at a restaurant, a teacher etc

Dec. 18: Show activists in your community that you are thankful for their efforts by showing up at a meeting or volunteering time in their offices.

Dec. 19: Make a donation to a charity or a nonprofit organization with a note mentioning your support of the good work they are doing.

Dec. 20: Create a living prayer of thanksgiving by providing a service to a neighbour, doing a chore, or running an errand.

Dec. 21: To express your gratitude to a good friend for always being there for you, give a playlist of your favourite songs or a book that has changed your life.

Dec. 22: As you are moving around your community today, notice and acknowledge the many blessings you receive from living there.

Dec. 23: Thank a person at school or work.

Dec. 24:Identify one quality that you admire about each person that you will celebrate with tomorrow.

Dec. 25: Say grace before your Christmas meal. Give thanks for the food, the fellowship of the company around the table, and the presence of Spirit among you.