Happy Gratitude Season!
Summer has faded, the pool towels are packed away and in their place, school backpacks and lunch boxes get packed instead. We have rolled sweetly into Fall and the super special time of year, Gratitude Season.
Pumpkins (and pumpkin spice), Fall Festivals, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all wrapped together in one glorious season where we remember just how thankful, grateful, and blessed we truly are.
Craft stores, dollar stores, and superstores alike fill right up with all we could ever want to decorate for this precious time of year.
Felt trees we can hang on our walls with leaves for the thankful lists our little people are all too happy (NAY, eager) to list.
Conversation cards for our Thanksgiving table allowing unsuspecting guests to count their very own blessings in front of a live audience.
The farmhouse ticking throw pillow with, “Thankful” written across the center we rush to buy before our home group arrives for bible study.
The cornucopia of gourds and miniature hay bales and pumpkins with “Grateful” delicately scripted on them to display on our front porches.
And the harvest orange shirt with, “Blessed” hot pressed smack in the middle of our boobs telling everyone we greet on Sunday morning, even if they don’t know another single thing about our lives, we humbly acknowledge how blessed we are.
It just feels so good to shout it from our mountaintop #blessed Nests how serious we are about being thankful.
BECAUSE WE ARE.
But what if we decided to do Gratitude Season differently?
Hold on. Hear me out.
For just a second let’s think about how people might know we are Jesus-followers without a local vintage hand-made wreath hanging on our front door.
IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?, you say.
I hear ya. It’s a lot.
Diffuse some essential oils, pour a cup of organic ginger green tea in your Pumpkin Spice Everything mug and hang on.
What if we didn’t buy the pillow for our couch and instead used that $29.99 to buy pillows for the local women’s shelter?
I bet if we cleaned out our closets, we might find some blankets to go with the new pillows. Maybe a couple of pillow cases even. If we shopped frugally, not just where it’s convenient but maybe at a local discount store, we could probably stretch that $29.99 out to include new sheets too. Or even a couple of cute character blankets for the kids who go into the shelters with their mommas.
Those mommas and their kiddos would be grateful for our generosity.
What if we didn’t spend money on decorating our front porch and yards and instead used the money to pay for our neighbors to have their leaves raked and lawns mowed?
If we don’t know any neighbors who aren’t already paying for lawn service, then I bet our churches might. Code compliance at the city might be able to connect us with homeowners in need of assistance. Maybe we know someone who owns a lawn care company who could tell us about some needs he’s seen around town. Our elderly neighbors, people spending more time in hospitals than at home, folks who have lost jobs, there are oh so many people who could really use just a bit of help in the fall.
Those neighbors would be thankful for the kindness.
What if we didn’t buy the harvest orange bumper sticker tee shirt and instead bought clothes for those who don’t have enough?
Foster kids, Salvation Army Angel Trees, and homeless communities. Our schools likely run some sort of clothing closet for students in need. New shoes, new socks, new coats, new underwear, all things in desperate need around the fall and winter months. We are surrounded by people in need but they are hidden in plain sight. Trailer parks, section 8 housing, low rent apartments, tiny houses holding multiple generations of a family. Image-bearers just beyond our daily routine.
The people on the margins of our life would be truly blessed by our resources.
Gratitude Season Challenge Two…
Friend, I’m not in any way saying decorating for fall or making our homes warm and welcoming or even wearing a Jesus tee shirt is a bad thing. None of it is bad, thankfully, since fall and Gratitude Season are my favorite times of the year. And I confess to owning approximately 24 “Gratitude” signs.
But sometimes, good things take up space in our lives where better things are waiting to take root.
The better thing of a life lived gratefully and rooted in Jesus.
And maybe we can create margin for that life by releasing some (possibly most) of our pumpkin-spice-loving, thankful-decorating, gratitude-wearing stuff.
In my Gratitude Friday post last week, our first challenge was to find new voices, different voices, people saying things that offer us a change in perspectives, instead of hearing our own over and over and over again.
This week’s challenge…Instead of blindly spending our money to recreate a Pinterest fall tablescape (because DANG those pumpkins are cute), think about each and every purchase we make.
Intentionally examine how we spend our money.
Because what if we never told a single person how blessed we are and blessed others instead?
We lived grateful lives by giving and serving and seeing and valuing others rather than giving, serving, seeing, and valuing ourselves.
We allowed gratitude to become a verb, an action, a decision in our life instead of another pile of stuff we have to make room for in January.
What if we lived out Grateful this Gratitude Season?
I kinda want to give it a try.