On Thanksgiving, It Is All About An Attitude of Gratitude!

Thanksgiving 2015 aThanksgiving! The very word brings back mouth-watering memories of childhood. The dinner table, whether you were seated with the kids in the basement, the teenagers in the family room, or the adults in the dining room was a masterpiece of mom’s cooking. Added to it were specialties my aunts brought for the feast. I remember the delicious turkey surrounded by heaping bowls of stuffing, homemade cranberry relish, mashed and candied sweet potatoes and other favorites. Our home was the place where family who lived in the area would gather for the day. For me, the only thing better than the meal was the joy of having relatives to enjoy it with us. It seemed as though the day went on forever.

Now, my nephew and his wife have taken on that family tradition. The tables are a lot larger – and they fill multiple rooms in their home. The “family” is now much more extended. Everyone brings their favorite dish. There will be a couple of turkeys in the oven and another in a fryer on the patio. Yes, it certainly will be noisy. After all, it’s a celebration of family and friends, with the children reminding all of us that we have to “say thanks in prayer before you eat.” Their prayers, recited and sung, are always inspiring.

It is tempting to believe that gratitude is instinctive, but experience proves that just is not true. I am pretty certain that all of us remember the formation of the attitude of gratitude that is now part of our life. It took place when we were children. Don’t we all remember receiving a cookie from grandma, a gift on our birthday, or a compliment from a total stranger? Once received, there was that pregnant pause before mom or dad broke the silence with the question we heard many times before, “What do you say?” Over time we internalized this training, and thanks became spontaneous.

For Christians, every Sunday is really Thanksgiving Day. The term Eucharist comes from the Greek word “eucharistein” which means “thanksgiving.” We are called to give thanks when we come to celebrate Mass, as the Second Vatican Council taught in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (number 48), by the sacrifice of the immaculate victim once again, but also by offering our very selves to God in a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

I think it is fitting that Thanksgiving is not a mandatory feast in any faith tradition, for gratitude is best served by voluntary expressions. As we anticipate Thanksgiving here are a few suggestions for you to consider integrating into your attitude of gratitude for the day. Take time to count your blessings. The Thanksgiving newspaper will come stuffed with Black Friday ads. Instead of starting your “wish list” or shopping list, make a “thanks list” and take it to the Lord in prayer sometime before the day comes to an end. Don’t allow the creep of Black Friday to gobble up Thanksgiving. Stay away from the malls and the stores the entire day. Remember, in order for any of them to be open someone must be away from their family on Thanksgiving. Give a phone call to someone you love who won’t be with you on Thanksgiving and let them know that you are thinking about them. Then, silence your cell phone and take out the ear buds. Allow yourself to really hear the people who are with you for the day – and take the time to engage in a real conversation with them. Celebrate Mass with your parish family. Most parishes have a morning Mass on Thanksgiving. At Saint John Bosco Mass will be celebrated at 9:00 am on Thanksgiving morning – and you are most welcome to join us. The Eucharist in a grace-filled way to begin the day focused on God’s blessings in praise and thanks.

On Thanksgiving many of our homes will be filled with the smells of turkeys and pies, and the sounds of laughter and football. But let us also be mindful of those who will spend the day without the comfort of food, family or faith. Say a prayer for them – or better yet, consider inviting them to your table

May God bless you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving.

Question – What will your attitude of gratitude include on Thanksgiving Day?

November 23rd, 2016 |