Very soon Americans will celebrate the Thanksgiving holidays. Even though these times still seem to be uncertain, we will have the urge to gather for sumptuous meals highlighted by turkey and pumpkin pie, traveling to and from the ancestral home, enjoying family, feasting on leftovers and perhaps even watching football.
For many of us, Thanksgiving Day is so full of activity that there is a tendency to forget what’s at the heart of Thanksgiving, offering our thanks to God for the many gifts that have been bestowed upon us. Although sometimes the reason for the holiday is forgotten in our secular culture today, good stewards of their life and faith recognize that Thanksgiving should be directed primarily in God’s direction.
The Spirituality of stewardship asks us to recognize the greatness of God. God who created us with a Father’s love. God who redeemed us with the sacrifice of the Son. God who makes us holy by the sending of His Spirit. We should not grasp things selfishly to ourselves. God’s gifts are to be used to glorify Him and to share them with our fellow human beings. The command in Genesis to subdue the earth has been newly translated as “to cultivate and care for it” [Gen. 2.15]. The command of God to Adam to subdue the earth never meant to destroy it.
Because the “busyness” of Thanksgiving Day can easily distract us from slowing down to a pace more suitable to adequately expressing our gratitude to God, perhaps this November we might allow Thanksgiving to permeate our lives for more than just a day. How about the entire month? Expressing gratitude is at the heart of good stewardship. So, let’s dedicate a little time each day in November to giving thanks for our blessings.
Begin with Monday, November 1 and Tuesday, November 2, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Spend a few minutes each of those days thanking God for all the people in your life who have gone before you. Then, each day thereafter, set aside a few minutes to remember all that God has given you and say “Thank you.”
Take part of a day and walk or hike down a woodland path. Express your gratitude for the beauty of God’s autumn creation.
Take a minute each day to thank the people in your life who matter to you. Tell them you’re thankful for them. Drop someone a note, place a short phone call or maybe a video chat is in order. Telling people you’re thankful for them will enrich your life as well as theirs.
Make a point to attend at least one Mass outside the regular weekend Masses. Going to Mass on Thanksgiving morning is an excellent way to enhance that holiday. As a community of faith, we know that giving glory to God in this way is an important aspect of our communal life of faith.
Transform the month of November into a month of Thanksgiving. If you do, you will find your celebration of Thanksgiving Day a richer and fuller experience than you could have imagined. In fact, you might just discover that your overall happiness with life improves. May this month of Thanksgiving be a time when we not only say “Thank You” to God, family and neighbor, but a time when our hearts draw us much closer to the Lord.