For the Living of These Days—A Word from Lauren Jones Mayfield

I am so excited to share this precious family photo with you. My daughter crafted this list on her chalkboard when she was in the first grade and just learning to write. It lists everything for which she gives thanks. (This was done with no parental prompting!) The thanksgiving stretches from parents and toys, to earth and church, to candy and school, Love and toilets!  What strikes me in this moment, aside from the fact that it is Thanksgiving week, is the spiritual nature of giving thanks. Livia was so excited to showcase this work of writing, along with her creativity in list-making.

As we continue in our season “Freedom in Generosity,” and as we pause amidst the holiday hubbub on Thursday to worship and brunch together, I wonder what you would list on your chalkboard. What does the Spirit prompt in you? Here is a helpful article about the current selection for Highland Reads, Diana Butler Bass’s book Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.

If you have not had a chance to read the book, this interview showcases some of her most pertinent findings. She writes of gratitude, “The practices on the personal side are practices of attention. Anything that draws our eye toward where grace and gifts are present in our lives. Gratitude helps us be able to live more deeply and fully into a vision of abundance on a personal level.”

Consequently, Bass also names the corporate gifts of gratitude in relationship to the generosity of congregations. “Part of my dream in writing this book is to help people in congregations get to levels of gratitude that they never thought about before.”

What a lovely challenge for us to ponder. How do we move beyond transactional giving, both at church and in our personal lives, and into a space of abundance? Talk about spiritual work! No matter the method, may we all be as inspired as a first grader giving thanks on a chalkboard. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Friends.