As an editor, I see (and hopefully correct) the occasional spelling error before an issue of FAITH goes to press. Every now and again, one of those spelling errors catches my eye and makes me stop and think. One such example is “conformation” as a mistaken spelling for “confirmation.” This spelling error triggers my sacramental imagination, inasmuch as one of the hopes we have for anyone who is being confirmed is that they might be more closely conformed to the person of Jesus Christ by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. True, it is a spelling error, but it also encourages one to think a little bit.
As we move into the month of November, we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for thanksliving. That’s right – we need to be ready for thanksliving. While we prepare to celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving at the end of the month, our preparations for a day that brings together faith, food and family should also spill over into how we live our lives during the other times of the year.
When we gather at table on Thanksgiving Day, we are encouraged to pause and prayerfully give thanks for the many blessings we have known during the past year. Giving thanks for our blessings in whatever form they may take requires that we be aware of our blessings in the first place. That kind of awareness can, at times, be elusive, given the many ways in which our attention can be diverted from moment to moment. Being aware of our blessings also means that we must be aware of their true source – our good and gracious God.
In addition to celebrating bounty and blessings on a particular Thursday in the month of November, it would be good for each of us to make time each day during our daily prayer to name one or two blessings we have experienced. In naming our blessings daily, we must also thankfully acknowledge God as the source from whom all blessings flow. My sense is that the more we are deliberate in pausing to reflect on our daily blessings and the One who is their source, the more our lives will be infused with an overall sense of thankfulness – to such an extent that our daily living will become thanksliving. Imagine that attitude of thankfulness spilling over into other aspects of our lives, most especially in how we act and interact with one another. What if a sense of entitlement is transformed by daily thanksliving? How might a competitive nature or a thirst for power or influence be positively transformed by a pervasive sense of thankfulness? How might a tendency toward greed or acquisitiveness be dramatically lessened? Would we view the gift of life and the skills we use to make our living differently?
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of this month, perhaps we can be more deliberate in allowing its effects and its deeper awareness to spill more fully into our daily lives, so that Thanksgiving leads us to daily thanksliving. And so, our journey in FAITH continues.