“Let all things now living,
A song of thanksgiving,
to God the Creator triumphantly raise…”
With autumn and October well underway, we can now direct our attention to the wonderful atmosphere of the holiday season. While we still have quite a while to go before we’re officially at that time of the year, let all of these decorative gourds, foliage, treats, and crisp air remind us of the overarching theme of these cooler months: stewardship.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, service towards one another should have a high priority on our lives’ to-do lists. Don’t let this be the only time that you engage in charitable action— Christ didn’t limit his generosity and good works to a handful of weeks out of the year. Instead, let it be the start of a change in how you interact with your fellow humans!
Thanksgiving is coming up first, and the weeks leading up to the big feast should be a time of self-reflection, devotion, and meditation on what “thanksgiving” really means. It’s a compound word, and on the surface, it seems to define itself— thanksgiving simply means “giving thanks”. But I encourage everyone to break it down into it’s two component parts, and actively pursue both actions independently, so that you may eventually do them together.
This fall, focus on the “thanks” by being vocal about it! It is definitely a useful exercise to write down what you are thankful for in a private journal, but you should make a concerted attempt to contact everyone in your life and let them know exactly what it is about them for which you are thankful. Is it their companionship? Maybe you treasure their advice, or the work they do for you. People love to hear words of encouragement, especially if they are honest and personalized.
At the same time, you should practice “mindful thankfulness”. Learn to appreciate that which is taken for granted on the day to day— your most basic freedoms and liberties, your life itself, and most importantly, the love of God which guides and comforts you.
Separate yet integral to thanks is “giving”. We should not only be quick to give thanks, but to share that which we are thankful for with others. If you are in good health, give the advantages of the your hearty body with one who needs it most. For example, why not rake the leaves of a neighbor or volunteer to repair a broken fence. If you find your soul overflowing with cheer and jubilation, brighten someone’s day by spending a few hours with them. Soup kitchens and food pantries are usual busy this time of year, and probably wouldn’t turn away a volunteer.
By giving your brotherly love to those who need it most, you are also sending the love of God their way, too. Again, this should be something we strive to do in all seasons, but let this be the time when you really examine yourself and attempt to lead a life of Stewardship like our Lord and Savior.