HOW do we give thanks?

thanksgiving-dinnerHow do we give thanks?  It is an essential question. If one looks at the media and culture at this time year it would seem that we in the USA express gratitude by over- eating and watching football. We have this day called Thanksgiving (which one would assume by its history and title are about gratitude) on which we share feasts and a majority precede or follow with football games.

One of the foundation stones of Christian spirituality is gratitude. We recognize what we have rather than focusing on what we do not have. When we are grateful our lives are better – even without a change in circumstance.

Answering HOW we give thanks is not intuitive. Many of us might stammer “Well, umm,  by saying thank you…”  We have trouble with the question because we understand gratitude as an internal feeling. Gratitude may begin as a feeling but it is not real until we turn it into an action. Because I am grateful I then embody my gratitude in some way that gives it life beyond me. It may be in saying thank you or it may be by taking an action to give larger life or voice tjo that for which I am grateful. For example, I am grateful that I have sufficient food, and health care. My response may be to make donations to a food pantry, or to advocate for the continuance of the SNAP program, or to work for universal health care.

As we approach Thanksgiving ask yourself HOW will you be thankful?  How will you embody and live out your gratitude so that it spreads to effects the lives of others?


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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