November 22, 2022
Reflection – Thanksgiving
“Delight in Him from whom you have
received everything that delights you.”
Today we are celebrating, at least in the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a time for remembering what we have been blessed with: physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. A friend of mine recently approached this by focusing on gifts we ourselves did not choose. They are not of our making. They are pure gifts. Here is a partial list of what he came up with:
We Don’t Get to Choose
We did not choose the place and country of our birth, whether we are male or female, what century we were born in, what the religion of our parents was, whether we were born into a relatively poor or rich family, our I.Q., our height, our looks, our basic personality, what talents we may have (artistic, athletic, musical, scientific, etc.), disabilities or predisposition to illnesses, None of these came of our own choice. They were gifts. Even grief is said to be an “unwelcome gift”.
It is ALL gifts! Creation, the seasons, the sun, moon and stars, mountains, hills and ocean, and all the rest of nature. Our culture, music, seasons, community, economy, work, and friendships all come largely as gifts and not of our own initiative.
Gifts of God
Spiritually, we are gifted by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit with the Bible, mercy, the forgiveness of our separation from God (i.e., salvation), freedom, faith, hope, love, and eternal life. And let us not forget those of our faith communities who have held us up when we were not yet ready to stand on our own.
Mentally we have the freedom to make choices, an ability to think and analyze, to decide, imagine, laugh, remember, love, dream, and pray. We are given a conscience, the ability to feel compassion and empathy, as well as a full range of emotions.
These are all gifts for which we can be thankful for this week. May each of us remember with thankfulness where these gifts have come from. And may we use them for the glory of our Creator.
Thomas Merton put it this way:
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
Source: The content contained herein was taken largely from a homily given by Fr. Drew Woods in Sugar Land, Texas on 18 November 2022. The quote from Thomas Merton came from an article by Jane Endris.
Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the Chaplain alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives.
Read more Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner