Thanksgiving may be one of the most under-rated holidays of the year mostly because the secular celebration of Christmas tends to start earlier and earlier each year, and Thanksgiving comes and goes all too fast. The stores begin selling and promoting Christmas even before Halloween, so Thanksgiving seems fly by quickly in terms of the world’s view of it. However, as people of faith, we know and understand that this celebration of thankfulness is a spiritual time of being thankful to God for all the blessings he bestows. On that note, we can prepare ourselves not just for the meal on Thanksgiving Day, but we can prepare our hearts to be grateful to God for his love and for his providence always.
Our culture teaches us to constantly want more, do more, and to always be on the hunt for the next “good thing”. There is not very much said secularly about being grateful for what one already has and for life as it is in the present moment. We are constantly being fed by the media ads and commercials telling us that if we just had more things, looked younger, were better fit, better looking, had a better house, more friends, that our lives would be much better. This is a big lie, but if you own a phone and see advertisements it is hard to ignore.
With all of this said, how can we become more grateful for what we do have and be able to thank God in the best way possible? The answer is simple. Look around and discover the goodness before you. See all of what he has provided for you right now and in the past. God is good, all the time. Thanking God is what it is all about, so stay in that mind-set. Do your best to ignore the lies of society that “things” and a more perfect life will bring true happiness. It won’t.
In prayerfully preparing for Thanksgiving, devote some time to meditating on all that is truly good in your life in the present moment. In prayerfully preparing, reflect on the greatest gift God has given each of us and that is the opportunity to serve others in imitation of Christ.
When we model the Lord in his giving and sacrifice, we find exactly what we are searching for. It is not found in big houses, fancy clothes, lots of friends, perfect relationships, or in having loads of money. Happiness comes to us in honorably living out our baptismal vocation to love God with all our hearts and in loving others as we love ourselves. This is how we prayerfully prepare for Thanksgiving and beyond by recognizing the gifts we already have in living out our faith.
As we move forward after Thanksgiving and beyond, keep the spirt of thanks alive by being grateful to God for all he given you. He has given you his love, his constant care, and most of all he has given you a mission to love and serve. We are blessed beyond our wildest imagination since we have a good and loving God and his beautiful son Jesus who loves us more than anyone we will ever meet. Move forward in a spirit of thanksgiving today and always.