I didn’t grow up in a liturgical tradition. For me, Christmas followed immediately after Thanksgiving as surely as December follows November. But more recently I’ve come to appreciate the Church calendar and have discovered the gift of Advent, nestled nicely between our American Thanksgiving and the season of Christmas—which runs from Christmas day until Epiphany, the day marked to celebrate the visitation of the Wise Men.

“If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” These words, spoken by Jesus while defending the lavishly intimate actions of an impure woman, arrested my attention. I’ve been thinking about gratitude lately and have noticed it’s easier for me to bemoan what I lack than to express gratitude for what I have. Despite my efforts to be more thankful, my gratitude meter often still needs a realignment.

How exactly do we go about cultivating a more grateful heart? Jesus seemed to think gratitude was linked to forgiveness.

Who doesn’t love the month of September for the promise it holds of a fresh start? The annual rhythms of new classrooms, classmates, teachers, and subjects—both for ourselves and then for our children—have trained us well. We succumbed to the notion that buying new notebooks, new pens and pencils in every color under the sun, new clothes, and new shoes would blot out any lingering and unsavory memory from the prior year. Our internal body calendars remind us this is the season where a fresh start is possible.

Do you find yourself asking the same questions day after day? “Am I doing enough with my life? Am I living in my purpose?” The world tells us our purpose is validated by success—of our career, children, a business we’ve launched, or a brand we’ve built. Yet God tells us our purpose is found in glorifying Him and enjoying His presence forever.

The world’s view is centered on doing, while God’s focuses on being. In a world gone crazy with measuring our purpose by the number of followers and likes we have on social media, how can we stay grounded in who we are rather than trapped in a cycle of measuring how much we do?