Gratitude & the New Liturgical Year

Life. is. messy.

It doesn’t matter if a person is married or single, has children or not, or is living at home with family or on their own. The truth of the matter is, life is messy.

Life doesn’t go according to our plans and wishes, and in an effort to make our world fit into what we envision, we create the mess. We, as humans, have difficulty ceding our control and our need to control.

Which leads to the mess we see around us.

And, often, when things don’t go according to plan, we turn to God – or, we turn on God. We demand why things did not go our way. We ask how things got “so out of control,” and we wonder where He was in the thick of the mess.

We often begin to overlook His hand throughout the process – those times He tried to throw us a lifeline, the moments in which He tried to encourage us through the mess, and the ways in which He gently tried to assist us in correcting our course.

We forget to acknowledge the ultimate gift He has given us, that of free will. The ability to choose to surrender our control, and the need of it, to follow His will; or, the ability to charge head-first into our own messes without a backward glance.

I am so guilty of overlooking moments in my life in which I should be grateful. I get bogged down in the mess which I admit right here is made of my own free will – trying to insert my will and desires into my life, and not relinquishing that need for control to the One ultimately in charge!

In fact, I struggle to give thanks, not because I am not thankful, but because I have always felt giving thanks for my family, friends, health, etc. was scratching the surface. Everyone says that is what they are grateful for, and honestly, God knows I am grateful for those major things in life – He doesn’t need me to keep repeating myself.

At the encouragement of my spiritual director (aka chaplain), I began noting the smaller moments throughout the messiness of my days for which to be grateful. The moments we typically wouldn’t think – the bed I have to sleep in, the car I have to drive around town, even running late in the morning and finding out there was a nasty car accident I could have been involved in with my children had I been running on time. The moments in which my children are testing my patience – reminding me they are little people, too, learning to control their own world, and learning their limitations. The moments in which plans aren’t going according to my vision, but then finding an unintended reward in the change of plans.

My chaplain shared,

Gratitude Pray-er.png

It doesn’t have to be deep – it just has to be said!

This week, we spend a day throughout the United States, being thankful. Having gratitude. However, gratitude should not be relegated to one day only. Instead, it is something we should give daily, no matter how difficult our lives may be.

My discussions with my chaplain led to the creation of The Gratitude Project on my personal blog – identifying a small moment during my week for which I am most grateful. It’s an effort to get me to become more mindful, and to maybe remind my followers that our gratitude doesn’t have to be the rote “family, health, friends, etc.” It’s also a reminder to both myself, and hopefully my readers, that there is beauty in the messiness of life.

We just have to be intentional in finding those little moments of beauty.

The liturgical year is coming to a close, and the New Liturgical Year is coming up on us. What I encourage all of us to do is to commit to a New Liturgical Year Resolution:

Be intentional about finding moments to be grateful in the messiness of our lives.

Every day.

It doesn’t have to be a big moment – just something small. It can be as small as the warm cup of coffee, of which you take a sip, before you are off and running after children. It can be as small as a stranger’s smile at you, and you both hurry by each other on the street. It can be as small as having the ability perform a random act of kindness for the stranger in the checkout line behind you at the coffee shop.

You don’t even have to share these moments – they can be private moments between you and God, in which you acknowledge the moment. Or, you can feel free to hop over to my site and leave a note in that week’s Gratitude Post. The point is to find those moments, and to thank God for the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis, if we are willing to take the moment to look – and, to recognize!

But, this next liturgical year, let us all commit to finding those small moments in our daily lives – and, giving credit to the One to Whom the credit belongs:

To our God, our Creator, the ultimate example of humanity and love in our lives!

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Advent kicks off our new liturgical year. It is a beautiful, reflective time in which we spend weeks leading up to Christmas preparing both our hearts and homes for the coming of our Savior. The Catholic Women Bloggers Network Blog Hop went live this morning, highlighting several bloggers’ thoughts on Advent Traditions. As always, several of our bloggers are featured during the CWBN Blog Hop, and we like to encourage our Everyday Ediths readers to hop over and check out more insight from our regular contributors here on our blog. Read some excerpts below and head over to our bloggers’ sites to read their full reflections.

Ginny from Not So Formulaic offers,

Welcome to day three of the Five Days of Advent Traditions for Catholic Families.  With so many added events and celebrations, a family’s Advent routine can be anything but.  Renew your Advent focus with 15 creative family traditions designed to keep your eyes fixed on Bethlehem, not a screen.   

Screen time is a blessing and a curse.  Through games and programs like Minecraft and Scratch, my girls have built elaborate cities and coded fantastic animations.  My just-turned-two year old has started to read (barely) thanks to Starfall.  And honestly, it’s a welcome distraction for the kids when I need to get something done (like right now.  Ahem.).

For more of this piece, click here!

Kirby from Under Thy Roof shares,

Advent is coming! Now that we live in the Great White North it is very tempting to deck the halls with Christmas joy right when December 1st hits.

But we wait.

Advent is a season in of itself and it’s worth the wait to let Advent do its work. Here’s what we do before the joyous day of Christmas arrives!

For more of this piece, click here!

Leslie from Life in Every Limb writes,

More than Christmas, more even than Easter, Advent is my very favorite liturgical season.  Part of my affection for Advent stems from my beautiful memories of Catholic school celebrations, but I also love it for how simple it is to incorporate the celebration of this special season into daily life.

When I was very young, opening the doors on our Advent calendar each December morning before school was my earliest introduction to the season of Advent.  This is a delightful way to harness children’s anticipation of Christmas to teach a lesson of joyful and patient waiting.   Over the years there have been times we had a calendar for every kid ready to go on December 1, and other times we weren’t on the ball managed to find the very last available calendar a week into Advent.

For more of this piece, click here!

May each of you have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving!

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3 thoughts on “Gratitude & the New Liturgical Year

  1. Pingback: #WorthRevisit: The Gratitude Project in My Saturday/Sunday Best

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