In the month of October, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a day that families join and give thanks to God for everything that they have. It is a day filled with good food, sports and a time to relax and have fun. Of course, this day is not on our Orthodox Calendar. We don’t need one special day to give thanks for everything we have. We, as Christians, do that every Sunday morning and any other time we pray and take Holy Communion. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is still a great time to reflect on what we should be thankful. As Orthodox Christians, we should be thankful for our Lord coming down to earth, taking the form of a servant and giving Life to us through His Cross and Resurrection. We should be thankful that He brought us from death to life with the plan of salvation. We should be thankful for our parents, our brothers and sisters, our grandparents, our aunts, uncles and cousins. We should be thankful for our friends, our teachers and our classmates. We should be thankful for everything that we have.
Now, someone might say, “Doesn’t God know that we are thankful for these things?” Well, yes. God knows everything. He wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to embrace Him and make Him the Lord of our lives and our best friend. Therefore, when we thank God, we show Him that we want a personal relationship with Him. We show Him that we want to talk with Him, to laugh and cry with Him, to become one with Him. When we don’t bother to talk with Him, it is as if we don’t want Him in our lives. When we do talk to God, we should not only ask God for things; we should first thank Him for everything we have. We should thank Him every day because He gives us these things every day. We should then ask forgiveness for what we have done and then we should ask for the things that will make us closer to Him. Our action – of giving thanks to God for His Body and Blood – is not complete until we go forth and do good works, imitating Christ. Thus at the end of the Liturgy we are called to “depart in peace” “in the Name of the Lord.” When we do these things, we truly would have prayed and given thanks for His grace and mercy on us. This Thanksgiving season, let’s not forget to give thanks from the moment we rise to the moment we go back to sleep at night and our Heavenly Father will be there saying, “You are welcome, my child.” Let us not forget to be thankful for God’s real and active presence in our lives. Maybe we can institute a special prayer of thanksgiving, maybe we can take some time away from TV, away from Football, away from the food, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who has provided all the things that we can even be thankful for. Courtesy of St. Paul's newsletter.