Thanksgiving, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

It’s this week.  We will be celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday.  All of America will be aware of feasting, family, football. And it is right that we remember how the Indians and the Pilgrims gave thanks for the plentiful harvest with a feast.  But the reason for the feast ought to go beyond the food on the table.

What are you truly thankful for this year?   Is it your family?  We do give thanks for them.  Even if there have been rifts and anger, we still need to give thanks for family.  Because God gave us family, so we can live and breathe and think and love and develop and believe.  THANKS BE TO GOD!

Perhaps you are thankful for the beauty of nature.  We see all the loveliness lavished upon us.  If you want to get a glimpse of the prodigality of God, take a look at wild flowers.  They are not “planted”, they just grow.  The floors of the forests are filled with tiny flowers, and in many cases they are not ever seen by people.  They bloom and die.  And in doing so give glory to their maker for that is just what they are to do.  Stars that we gaze at in the sky are so numerous they cannot be counted.  And so beautiful we must wonder how the hand of God could throw so many jeweled suns when most of us will not even notice them.

Who can look on a newborn child and not gasp at the miracle God has placed in the persons of man and woman.  Nothing is more beautiful.  Do we thank God for children?

Everything in this world is a gift from God.  Even those things we endure.  The truly thankful person can find something to thank for in arthritis!  Or hair loss!  Or weakness!  Or even pain.

All gifts from God come wrapped.  And sometimes the ones wrapped so beautifully are the least valuable.  Try to find the preciousness in the badly wrapped gift.   If you cannot walk so well now, recognize that you have time to slow down and reflect.  Constant busyness is not always good.  Slow down.  Nothing is more important in the long run than a constant attitude of gratitude.

Be thankful for everyday things all day long.  It does not take time, just thought.  When the elevator opens just as you push the button, say “Thanks, God!”  Get used to having “Thanks” as part of your constant thoughts.

The phone rings and it is not for you!  Thanks, God.  Or the phone rings and it IS for you.  Thanks, God.   You’re hot and a small breeze flutters by. Thanks, God.  No bills in the mail today.  Thanks, God.  Enough money in the bank to pay bills!  Thanks, God. 

Thanksgiving ought not be relegated to one day and a table full of food. Thanks is the best way to honor the God who gives us everything. Think of all the wonders God places before you daily and acknowledge them as the hymn says, “All that we can offer you is thanks; all that we can offer you is thanks.

For all the goodness I find daily in people I encounter, Thanks, God.

Sharonlu OSF
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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