by Christine Sine,
Can you imagine if the whole world took a day to say thank you? Tomorrow, September 21st is World Gratitude Day. This celebration began in Hawaii in 1965 and was adopted by the United Nations but unfortunately, it is not as yet a day that has become universally celebrated.
What do we all have to be thankful for, you may wonder? In a world that is still suffering terribly from the effects of COVID and the economic impact on our lives, the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, our fears about climate change, and our uncertain future; how do we come together as a global community and say thank you?
My new mantra “I thank you God for the gift of life, a wondrous gift so freely given” and which I will share more about at our Gearing Up for a Season of Gratitude online retreat on Saturday, revolutionized my life. Each morning as I sit in my sacred space with my cup of tea in my hand, I recite these words and relish the thoughts that come to me. I am amazed at what has welled up from the centre of my being. God has placed so many gratitudes within me that need to be expressed.
One day I found myself focusing on the new opportunities that each day brings – opportunities to appreciate the beauty and incredible diversity of our world, and to share the love and compassion of God, and to enjoy the creativity that God placed within me. The following day I gave thanks for the organizations Tom and I support that help us fulfill our desire for justice and equality and sustainability in this world. I am so grateful that our concerns for this world and its inhabitants are shared by so many others who are much better able than we are to respond.
On another day, after reading @blackliturgies on Instagram, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the rich and varied gifts that God has placed within each person in this world. Then there was the day that I sat and basked in gratitude for the memories of my childhood adventures, all evoked by watching the movie Swallows and Amazons on Amazon Prime. I grew up with this series of 12 books but Swallows and Amazons, the first in the series, was always my favourite. I entered vicariously into the adventures of others and it stirred into being a life lived in the open spaces of my imagination, a gift that even now spurs my creativity.
Can you see the trend here? This focus on the wondrous gift of life took my gratitudes from “me” to “we” and convinced me that gratitude needed to embrace the whole world with words of thanks and with actions of support and provision.
Evidently, there are 17 nations in the world that hold thanksgiving celebrations. It is not confined to the U.S. and Canada, though many of these were influenced by the American celebrations, as this article documents. Sadly, what began in many places as national celebrations tended to become more family-oriented private events. So today I encourage you to think about one small thing you could do to help make September 21st into a day of worldwide gratitude. Perhaps this Thanksgiving dinner blessing written by Adam Lee, an atheist will help:
As we come together to share this meal, let us first remember how it came to us and be thankful to the people who made it possible.
This food was born from the bounty of the earth, in warm sunlight, rich earth, and cool rain.
May it nourish us, in body and mind, and provide us with the things that are good for living.
We are grateful to those who cultivated it, those who harvested it, those who brought it to us, and those who prepared it.
May its consumption bring about the pleasures of friendship, love and good company.
Join us on September 29th at 9am PST for the Facebook Live session with Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin. The recording will be available on YouTube later today if you cannot join live.