Annunciation Parish Youth & Young Adult Ministries – Albuquerque, NM
Give Thanks to God for Everything
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this coming week, it is a good reminder to all of us that we have SO MUCH to be thankful for.
C’mon! Admit it! You are blessed! And far beyond the food and holidays!
Some families have the tradition of going around the table, each sharing something they are thankful for before digging into Thanksgiving Dinner. These moments might feel a little awkward, since it isn’t something we do openly very often (although we might feel it inside).
But, it is a good thing to do! Give Thanks!
To help you out this Thanksgiving, here is a list of some things to be thankful for and/or ways to express your attitude of gratitude.
And, we’d like to know the ways you show your gratitude and if you have any Thanksgiving traditions you love! (That’s what the combox is for at the bottom of this post!)
Now on with the list:
1. Get Thee to Mass!
The Holy Eucharist we celebrate at every Mass is just that! We get the word Eucharist from the Greek, Eucharistia, which means thanksgiving. Every time we come before the Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is an act of thanksgiving. Bring before the Lord all the things you are thankful for, and if you can’t think of something, read number four below.
That’s right, even if you have brothers and sisters who get on your nerves. Now is the time to put your petty irritations aside and look at the things you appreciate about them (there is good in all of us, even your pesky brother or sister!). Make a point this Thanksgiving and tell them how much you appreciate them. Maybe you don’t have words to express your appreciation. That’s fine, but then show them by doing something nice for them (a sincere hug says volumes!).
3. Reach Out and Touch Someone.
No! That doesn’t mean to slug your sister! Is there someone you love that lives a ways from you that you haven’t spoken to for a long time? Make an effort to call that one person you’ve been meaning to but haven’t gotten around to it. Let them know you’re thinking of them.
4. Do a 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he stresses:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Many times when things don’t go how we would like, we are apt to moan to ourselves, “why me???”. Saint Paul reminds us that in all circumstances, we should trust that God’s will is in there somewhere and strive to make the best of what’s going on in our lives in any given moment. Let us Rejoice always … and pray. Which leads us to consider number 5:
5. The Job Approach to Life
We’re talking about Job (pronounced jobe), from the Old Testament, who was pretty well off, both financially and with a big loving family, until all his earthly wealth was stripped away, and even his health deteriorated, to the extent that even his wife counseled him to ‘curse God and die’ (Job 2:9). His friends believed the only reason for Job’s situation was because he must have sinned.
What was Job’s response? He didn’t blame God, but accepted all:
“We accept good things from God; should we not accept evil?” (Job 2:10)
To embrace the “Job Approach to Life”, we must look beyond our circumstances and recognize all the good things we have accepted from God, and trust on. This is also a good time to do number 6:
6. Make Good Word Choices
It has happened to all of us. Something unpleasant happens. For months you’ve been collecting plant samples for your biology assignment, drying them, researching and labeling them. You’re ready to turn it in tomorrow, only, you bump into the fish bowl stand, toppling water and gold fish all over you masterpiece. What’s the first thing you say?
Like I said, we’ve all had unfortunate circumstances like this. Rather than turn to the vulgar language of our age, turn to God’s grace in His Word. Try a good word – not in vain tone – as a prayer.
Jesus. Mercy. Praised be Jesus. Blessed be the Lord.
Begin in smaller experiences of hardship practicing good word choices, and they will come naturally as praise the next time disaster strikes.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta recounts this story:
“I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand.”
If this woman, hurt so much from rejection, we can forgive too. (Hint: It’s a great way to prepare for Christmas this coming Advent.)
8. Do things in Secret
Ok. This does NOT mean to take things when no one is around – that would be bad needing a trip to the confessional. Rather, we are called to – in humble charity – to do good things for others without being seen. Why? Because it changes our motivation for our good deeds.
Think about it. When we do good things so that others see, our motivation may be to receive praise from them for our ‘goodness’. It’s the same as cleaning our room, taking out the trash, washing the dishes, or doing some other chore only to hear our mom or dad say, “Thank you. You’re such a good son/daughter.”
But if you did something, say, out of love for the other person, not worrying about if they see you at your best? This is what Jesus was getting at when said:
Take care not to perform good deeds in order that people may see them…that your deeds may be in secret. And your Father show sees in secret will repay you.
(Matthew 6:1, 4 – paraphrased).
Our Heavenly Father – God – will repay us for our attitude of Charity (love) that we show through our good deeds.
9. Thank a Priest
Our Priests serve us untiringly, arranging their personal lives around our needs for the Sacraments. You need to go to confession outside of Saturday Confession time? One call to the rectory and he will be there for you. He gets up in the middle of the night to comfort the dying or to go to the hospital to anoint someone who was in a car accident. When you pray or go to Mass (see number 1), offer prayers for your priest.
10. Pray Always (Ephesians 5:20)
…be filled with the Holy Spirit, … giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Let us be sure to give thanks to God every day, praying always, which reminds me to remind you about our 30 Day Prayer Challenge! It’s a great way to establish a habit of prayer. Go ahead, click the link, and find a quiet place alone to spend 10 minutes in prayer with the One who has given you everything!
And, just you know, you can be a person of prayer and goodness and have fun too, enjoy the skating Monk:
Now, go give thanks!
And tell us about it below in the combox!