I love that as the temperatures drop and the days become shorter we are naturally invited into a season of gratitude. There is something rich about the holiday season that happens in the final months of the year. Our hearts are beckoned into a place of thankfulness.
But this year that is hard. Thankfulness may be beckoning but can we hear it above the layer of noise that threatens to drown it out?
This year we are all fighting unexpected battles and navigating challenges — some we never saw coming. Covid, political turmoil, plans canceled, missing loved ones, social isolation, fear of the future. One of my dearest friends is battling a challenging diagnosis and courageously receiving treatments. Some are bravely providing critical health care while still trying to care for their families after their long shifts end. Others have had to grieve the loss of loved ones. And then there are the day-to-day struggles we face to keep up with the society demands that urge us to have it all, be it all, get it all done and still have a picture perfect Instagram feed.
Thankfulness may not be a posture that our hearts are inclined to take this season.
You must fight harder than ever to grab hold of gratitude and refuse to let go. You lose nothing by choosing appreciation and gain everything by shifting your perspective into this place. Resting your eyes on the challenges deprives you of the beauty that results from seeing the rose amongst the thorns.
In the details, simple moments and quiet stillness of the season. It is my sincere hope that we can condition ourselves to look for all that we still have to be thankful for. It may start small — really small. The fuzzy socks on your feet. The comforting coffee in your mug. A sunrise that stuns you. A text from a friend. The opportunities for gratitude are there.
What starts as small and simple acknowledgements give way to an encompassing attitude that chooses to see all that is wonderful, even if there is so much that is still flawed. It is not a false optimism that overlooks hardship but a commitment to stare hardship in the eyes and choose to rise strong with appreciation for all that is still good.
I know that when I cultivate an attitude of gratitude within my own life it changes my perspective on what I view as a challenge and what I view as an opportunity. It is a complete reframing of circumstances.
You have an opportunity this holiday season.
Consider if your attitude, behavior and life can be characterized by someone who is truly thankful. It is in the darkness the light is able to shine brightest. We are cloaked in so much darkness these days — be the light that others need. Lead the way with a perspective that sees the good and prompts others to do the same.
Gratitude is a game changer. Cling to it. Nurture it. Commit to it. Exude it.