Daily Rituals

For the past couple of weeks I have been paying closer attention to the daily rituals I have in my life.  In particular I have been noticing when I do certain things throughout my day, or where certain daily events fall over the course of my waking hours.  Regrettably, for the most part, it turns out I am a creature of habit.  As much as I’d like to think of myself as being free of any mundane habits or dull daily rituals, I am just not the dynamo of spontaneity and bucker of procedure I believe myself to be.

Seasons also have their own sets of daily rituals, don’t they?  We have different daily rituals in the warm months of summer and others in the colder months of autumn and winter.  Summer is now winding down.  Soon to be gone are the lazy afternoons of vacation and in their place will be the hum and bustle of a new school year and a new church program year.  As I’ve thought about that transition I’ve taken stock of the daily rituals and routines I have now and how, with the start of the church program year, I’d like to take on some new daily rituals.  And I  invite you to linger a moment think about your own daily rituals and if there is room for you to take on or amend or even do away with some of the daily rituals you practice now.

One of the seasons of the church I find myself enjoying more and more is Lent.  I like the idea that we have the option of not just simply giving up something that we love or enjoy, but we can take up a new discipline or practice in our lives.  I have to admit that I always hope that the practice or discipline I take up at the start of Lent will actually turn into a part of my daily routine, part of the daily rhythm of my life.  Mostly those things fall away after the joy of Easter has worn off, but some of them, over the years, have hung around.

One such practice that has turned into a ritual, and I invite you to try it out for a stretch as we transition from Summer into the back-to-school season, is to find three times during your day when you simply say, “thank you” to God.  It does not have to be an elaborate prayer, in fact, the shorter the better.  “Thank you, God, for the gift of this day,” as an example, will do just fine.  Or, “Thank you, God, for the joy of my family.”  You will find the right words for you.  I find that I pray thanksgivings to God the very first thing when I wake up and the very last thing I do before I fall asleep–sometimes I fall asleep right in the middle of it–and I give thanks at lunch time for the food I eat.  You will find the right times in your day that fit your daily routine.

One of the benefits of this simple giving thanks is that it has the tendency to open our eyes to the incredible blessings that God gives to each of us.  As a society we have constantly drilled into our heads the notion that we do not have enough, or that there is more out there that we can obtain or earn if we only strive harder, work longer, and  go grab it.  But what about the blessings that we cannot obtain on our own, or that we have already received through God’s grace and abundant, steadfast love?

As we start this new church program year in a couple of weeks, give a thought to adding a new spiritual discipline of giving thanks to God and to noticing how, all around you, are the blessings God has showered you with in your daily life and work.


About matthewhanisian

Associate Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.
This entry was posted in The Rev. Matthew R. Hanisian. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Daily Rituals

  1. Anton Vanterpool II says:

    Thanks for your reminder and challenge to keep the prayer “Thank You” on our lips and in our hearts. We don’t have to wait for the fourth Thursday in November.

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