Every November we celebrate Thanksgiving when, if we are lucky, we can gather with family and friends to count our blessings and share a meal. But being grateful isn’t something just for one day out of the year. It should be our attitude on the other 364 days as well.
St. Paul urged his communities to be filled with gratitude. He taught that thanksgiving should mark all our requests to God. He wrote, “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians, chapter 4), as if every “please” should begin with “thank you.” It means that we are not only grateful for the good we been given but that we can look forward to a blessing in whatever comes.
That is easy to do, of course, when we receive something we truly desire and the goodness of which is apparent. It is more difficult when difficult and painful things happen. Are we expected to be grateful then? Perhaps that’s not possible; but we can leave open the hope that when bad things come, God will be present to help us bear the pain and suffering. Our faith assures us this is true (read the end of chapter 8 of the letter to the Romans) and for that we can indeed give thanks.
Yes, Thanksgiving is certainly a time to remember our many obvious blessings but can also be a time to affirm that even bad times cannot keep God away. So this year, and every day of the year, Happy Thanksgiving!