We have many blessings as a Christian community. We have a beautiful Church. We have many supportive and loving members. We just celebrated our “Friendsgiving” with over 300 people last week. As individual families we also have many blessings. We have jobs despite our struggling economy. We have our health and we have food on our tables. We have a great deal for which to be thankful this year. I'm sure we can all agree.
But HOW will we thank God for the blessing that He has given us this year? We pray in the Divine Liturgy, “For every good and perfect gift is from above, coming from You the Father of lights. To You we give glory, thanksgiving, and worship, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.” The first part of thanking God for His gifts is to acknowledge that the gifts are from Him to begin with and not from our own doing.
In the Gospel of Luke we hear the Parable of the Rich Fool who was so selfish and greedy that he could not see the blessings of his own wealth and he attempted to keep them all for himself. St Paul teaches us a better perspective about our wealth and blessings: “It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2.8-10)
So my brothers and sisters in Christ, this year take a moment and thank God for your blessings by using what He has given you to His glory. Support the ministry of the Church with proper Christian Stewardship. Help the poor. Reach out to the lonely. But most importantly keep coming to Church every Sunday prepared to receive Holy Communion and express your gratitude to Him.
Take time this year on Thanksgiving Day to come for Divine Liturgy. Start the day by thanking God at the heavenly banquet from the Altar Table. When you sit down to your family banquet around your dining room table, you will feel the extra blessing from God.
As a reminder, we do not have to fast on Thanksgiving Day. In honor of the only day in our American tradition dedicated to thanking God, the Archdiocese many years ago granted an exemption to fasting on Thanksgiving. So, come to Church for Liturgy and then enjoy the day with your family.