When Jimmy Fallon was the host of Late Night, he came up with shtick called, “Thanksgiving.” He had found a funny way to be thankful for the most meaningless things. He says, “I would like to thank the word moist, for being the ‘worst word ever.’ ” He’s thankful, too, for taco shells that have survived their long journey from factory to supermarket to his plate — and then break the moment he fills them. And he’s grateful that the name Lloyd starts with two L’s. Otherwise, he says, it would just sound like “Loyd.”
The thing that makes this funny is of course his sarcasm, and yet he’s on to something. The thing that he does is that he makes the seemingly meaningless, meaningful.
Thanksgiving has increasingly become a crunched holiday. It doesn’t hold the market value of the holidays that surround it. Halloween and Christmas are far more marketable and therefore, seemingly more powerful.
Thanksgiving is a time that asks us to do something that requires a measure of spiritual substance. It asks us to show gratitude. Not high fructose corn syrup gratitude, but real, homemade pumpkin pie gratitude. Not I’m thankful for my family, but I am grateful for my family. Not thank God – gratitude, but Praise God from Whom all blessings flow –Gratitude.
To genuinely thank God for all that has been given in this world, everything we have and are is to recognize Grace.
This Thanksgiving, breathe in the fresh air of God. If you are lucky enough to have a grandmother’s hand to hold, hold it. If you are blessed enough to a child to play with, give them your undivided attention. If you are fortunate enough to eat a good meal, take your bites slowly, enjoy the tastes and the aromas and give thanks for the bounty that is before you. If you have the day off and are given the space and time to be with your family, then be with them. Be present. Pay attention to them in a spiritual way – in a Grace receiving way. Take that discipline and spend the rest of your days grateful for the day you have been given. For today is the only day you know you have.
Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby’s ears. Sit in the cool grass and feel the sun on your face, run through the leaves, watch a bird sail on the wind. Remember to give thanks.
Now thank we all our God with heart and hands an voices, Who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices; who from our mothers’ arms, hath bless us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, with every joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us; and keep us in God’s grace and guide us when perplexed. And free us from all ills in this world and the next.