Thanksgiving has arrived, Advent begins in just a few days, and Christmas is almost here.
For many of us, this is a time we begin sending out our Christmas cards. But the custom of sending Christmas cards is not as popular as it once was. The cost of the cards and the postage has caused many people to cut back, or even eliminate sending cards altogether. The availability of staying in touch with family and friends through the Internet or phone contact is a factor.
Yet, a Christmas card with a personal touch is a wonderful way of spreading the message of peace through Christ during the Christmas Season. It is a way of showing our thanks for the blessings that come to us through our family, friends and others in our lives.
We certainly are grateful to God for our family and friends. Recently, I heard of a pastor who sends five “thank-you” notes a day as his way of showing gratitude to other people. Living a stewardship way of life fosters “an attitude of gratitude.” What a great idea to really live this attitude by sending a “thank-you” to someone. Perhaps not five “thank-you” notes a day, but what about one “thank-you” note a week? The practice of sending one “thank-you” note a week is something within the reach of each one of us.
Just think of the ripple effect such a practice would have in the lives of everyone who is affected by the “thank-you” note. The sender would have a renewed sense of gratitude, and the recipient would certainly welcome such a wonderful surprise. The recipient might adopt the practice, too. The news of receiving a “thank-you” note would certainly be shared with others, and they too would be affected.
There is another way of fostering an attitude of gratitude. We can do so by prayer. Each day, I select one person for whom I am thankful to God – one person to lift up in prayer each day. By doing so, I am made aware that it is through God’s blessings for me that there are people in my life to be thankful for – people who have done good things for me or our parish, or people who inspire me by their faith and generosity of living.
As we prepare for our celebration of Christmas during this Advent Season, it would be good to foster a sense of gratitude for everything God does for us, especially through the lives of other people. Why not send them a “thank-you” note or Christmas card? Why not offer them up in prayer?