Importance of Focusing on Gratitude in November (and free materials to help you do it!)
By Heather Melton, UTO Staff Officer
For those of you planning your fall formation schedule, our free November gratitude materials are ready! You can find them here: https://unitedthankoffering.com/november/. November is the perfect time to help your congregation focus on thankfulness and gratitude. Taking time in November to really pay attention to all we are thankful for is a great way to push back against the consumerism of Christmas (already showing up in stores). We’ve also compiled resources from Indigenous leaders to help talk about Thanksgiving, and ones to help reframe the holiday to focus on gratitude.
Our children’s materials are set up for use within a Sunday School classroom or to be sent home with families to do together. Just a reminder, we do offer connections with formation materials from Indigenous communities to help teach children about the history of the holiday and a list of picture books we love for elementary-age kids. We also have a wonderful table liturgy to help focus our Thanksgiving meal on gratitude.
This year, the focus for our young adult/adult journal is on using gratitude as a form of interruption. Often gratitude is seen as something to do in response to something else happening, such as writing thank-you cards for gifts received. But gratitude can also be a powerful tool to interrupt routines or moments of anxiety and be a reminder that good can be present in all those things, too. This November, we want to invite you to see gratitude as a powerful tool for disruption. Each day we’ll provide a prompt that will challenge you to embrace how practicing gratitude can interrupt us in really good and important ways and simply check it off. We’ve also adapted how the challenge is structured for the weekends, with a day dedicated to taking care of yourself and a day dedicated to play, because both are serious interruptions to the ways of the working world. All challenges will show up daily on our UTO social media so you can easily share them on your personal or church pages.