ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a day set apart to offer our gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. We often become focused on the task at hand – work, family responsibilities, chores, expenses, and the like. With our head down, we plow through our engagements, infrequently stopping to consider the things which bring joy or comfort to our lives. We cannot rightly give thanks without directing our gratitude towards something, or more appropriately, Someone.

It is customary and lauded in our culture to recognize and give thanks for our blessings. That is where the logic quite often ends. This is fundamentally illogical. We hear people “giving thanks”, but we do not hear them directing their thanks toward anyone or anything in particular. The day of Thanksgiving, and the act of gratitude in general has devolved into a kind of empty optimism. Without a subject to direct our gratitude towards, the act of thanksgiving is rendered shallow and useless. A blessing requires a source. Anyone who is able to follow the logic through to its reasonable end must realize that God is the source of our blessings.

Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday. It began in that way and remains so, even if the meaning is lost on much of the population. As a Christian, Thanksgiving serves as a reminder of the necessity of thankfulness to the Almighty for our blessings. We are fallen creatures, plagued from the start with sin and rejection of God. Despite our rebelliousness, God has been merciful to us, extending graces and blessings upon us, His undeserving children.

The ultimate gift we have received is our life and redemption through Jesus’ death on the Cross. Both of these are gifts from God without which true happiness would not have been possible for us. Many people recognize the small blessings like a house, a car, a pet. These are indeed good things and worthy of our gratitude, but they are trivial in relation to the salvation of our immortal soul. We need to make an effort to step back and look at the bigger picture.

One day is not enough to show our gratitude. Thanksgiving is a reminder of the duty we owe God every day of our lives. If we really understood the magnitude of our blessings, of our place in the world, of our existence, and our inability to operate without the aid of Divine assistance, the emanations of our praise would never cease to be heard.

Our prayer should always begin with sincere gratitude. I do not think I am exaggerating with the assumption that most people who pray only ask for God’s help in whatever challenge they face in their life at the moment. It is a blessing for us that God’s unlimited power is accompanied by his endless patience and mercy! Can you imagine how you would react if an acquaintance of yours who has never assisted you in any meaningful way were to begin every conversation by asking you for money? God is not a vending machine! You cannot simply think it reasonable to put in a prayer and expect a blessing to appear before you. We should pray each day and each prayer should start with an authentic recognition that God has blessed us.