In a world where what we see so often is darkness, fear, and hate, we need this season of Thanksgiving. We seem so ready to name what is wrong, to put someone down, to be afraid of the stranger, to demonize the person with whom we disagree; perhaps the tonic for it all is to remember God’s abundant gifts and be grateful. There is so much good in our lives and in God’s world.
We begin November remembering saints – the big saints like Francis and John, Mary and Teresa – and the little saints like Grandma and the person who often sits beside us in church. What a blessing it is to have the saints at the foundations of our faith and our church who show us how to love God and love neighbor in the real world and in times of great challenge and change. What a blessing it is to have the saints of today at our sides showing us often how to love God and neighbor in the simple and everyday. Give thanks for the saints and the gift of God that allows us each and all to be saints too.
Later in November we shall celebrate Thanksgiving which reminds us of the gifts of harvest, the gifts of friends and family around table, the gift of our country, and the gifts of all that is. Again, when we live out of that gratefulness, life gets better. It doesn’t just look better, it gets better.
How are you thankful? How do you show thanks to others? (“Thank you” is great, of course, but how can you go further?) How do you offer thanks even to yourself? (For many of us thinking of and lifting up our own good ways of caring for ourselves is too easily overlooked or deemed selfish, but at its best this is what allows us to function for others.) How do you give thanks to God? (Remember Eucharist, for instance, means thanksgiving!) How can we spread our gratefulness to the world?
The Very Rev. Gary Barker