Practicing Gratitude with a Group
- Have you had any life experiences that intensified your sense of gratitude? If so, what were they, and how did they affect you? Talk about them together.
- What are the behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics of grateful people?
- In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown writes, "To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good. It means growing gentler toward human weakness. It means practicing forgiveness of my and everyone else's hourly failures to live up to divine standards. It means learning to forget myself on a regular basis in order to attend to the other selves in my vicinity. It means living so that 'I'm only human' does not become an excuse for anything. It means receiving the human condition as blessing and not curse, in all its achingly frail and redemptive reality." Each of those statements has great depth and richness. Talk about them one by one.
- Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 86 says:
Christ, having redeemed us by his blood,
is also restoring us by his Spirit into his image,
so that with our whole lives
we may show that we are thankful to God. . . .
Talk about all the different areas of our lives in which we can show gratitude. For example, how might we show gratitude by our shopping habits? While eating a meal? While worshiping?
Gratitude Photo Challenge
Organize a 30-day Gratitude Photo Challenge with your small group, with your extended family, in your workplace, or with your entire congregation.
Assign a different gratitude topic to each day of the month. Then send out an invitation for participants to submit one photo each day on those topics via Facebook, Instagram, email, or however you choose. You can create your own topics or use an already-created list like this one.
After the 30-day challenge is completed, start a conversation about your experience with it. What was wonderful about this challenge? What was hard? Did searching for things to be grateful for change your general outlook?
Here’s a great intergenerational activity to do with small groups of people or with your entire congregation. Create a “gratitude mosaic” together. Here’s how:
- Give everyone a small square of white paper (or ask them to use one they have at home if you’re meeting virtually). 5 x 5 inches (12 cm) square is a good size.
- Invite everyone to draw, paint, or collage something that they’re grateful for on their square.
- Collect the squares in person, by mail, or by asking people to send a photo of their square to one person who is assembling the mosaic.
- Glue the decorated squares onto a large piece of posterboard or mural paper, interspersing them with colored scrapbook paper where desired.
- Display your gratitude mosaic in your sanctuary, at home, or in another location.