|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on November 24, 2021 at 4:45 PM|
Thanksgiving is in many ways an enigmatic holiday. We have our beloved traditions: gathering with family, enjoying a festive meal, watching football games and the Macy’s parade, etc. While it can be said that Thanksgiving has roots in a religious culture, it is not a religious holiday per se. Of course, giving thanks is an essential part of what it is to follow Jesus’ way of love, but the version of Thanksgiving most of us celebrate these days can hardly be called religious.
Also, if we’re honest, the Thanksgiving “origin story” that we’ve all learned over the years, while it certainly seems to be based in historical events, glosses over the painful history of colonization and genocide perpetuated against Native Americans. Indeed, since 1970 many Native Americans observe a National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving Day, centered in Plymouth, MA. As disciples of Jesus Christ, who, as we heard in this past Sunday’s gospel reading, came to testify to the truth, it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge and give voice to this troubling, but very real, part of our national history.
With all this said, I am always a proponent of taking any opportunity we are given to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. At the heart of our weekly worship together is the Eucharist, which derives from the Greek word that literally means “thanksgiving”. Every Sunday we are reminded of how important gratitude is for our spiritual life. We can get so caught up in the vagaries of life that we completely lose sight of the many things for which we can give thanks. In my own spiritual journey, I have found that living life from a place of gratitude requires some intentionality, literally taking time and space to think about the blessings in my life for which I can be grateful.
I hope that as you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, in whatever way you do that, you will take some time to think about and give thanks for the blessings in your own life. This seems an especially important spiritual discipline this year. Even when life seems overly challenging, there is always much for which we can give thanks!
Yours in Christ,