This is an interesting time of the year. For some, they begin preparing for Christmas as soon as Halloween is over, and without a doubt, there are people already putting up Christmas decorations. Some people lament this and complain that Thanksgiving is often forgotten and ignored. I will admit that my biggest lament about the early Christmas preparations is that for many people the Christmas season ends on December 26 when in actuality it is just beginning. By the Church's calendar, the Christmas season extends well into January. We sing “The 12 Days of Christmas,” and those 12 days begin on Christmas and run through the Feast of the Epiphany—January 6.
Enough of my rambling and ranting. As much as people complain about the rush past Thanksgiving, I think most people appreciate and enjoy Thanksgiving. It's an opportunity to get together with family and friends, to enjoy a meal with those we love, and for some, it's an opportunity to watch some football. Growing up in Toledo, my family and I didn't visit my dad's side of the family here in Mansfield much for holidays because my mom's side of the family lived in the Toledo area, because driving two hours one way with four young kids can drive anyone crazy, and because my parents often had to work the day after a holiday. Thanksgiving, however, was different. This was the holiday we visited family here in this area. I won't have to drive too far for Thanksgiving this year.
Even though Thanksgiving isn't a Catholic holy day, it certainly contains Christian overtones. I think all of us know that we should give thanks to God for what He has given and provided for us, which is everything: our health, our family, our homes, our jobs, the people in our lives, everything. Perhaps this helps us see how dependent upon God we really are and hopefully causes us to reach out to Him in our need instead of trying to be radically self-reliant. Additionally, I am a firm believer that intentionally thanking God and showing Him our gratitude is a tremendous antidote to jealousy. If we step back and realize how much God has provided for us, we tend to realize how blessed and fortunate we are. Lastly, the word Eucharist comes from the ancient Greek meaning “thanksgiving.” When we gather for Mass, for the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays, we are gathering together to give thanks together to God for what He has done for us in Christ Jesus: saving us from sin and death and offering us life eternal with Him. May we remember to give thanks every Sunday for God's goodness to us and for Christ's death and resurrection.
We will have Mass on Thanksgiving at Resurrection at 9am. I hope to see you there.