Today those of us in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day. The first national observance of Thanksgiving came at the recommendation of President Washington that the people of the United States observe Thursday, November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.” Washington’s proclamation asked the American people to “beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”
Later this morning, we will go to Mass and engage in “public thanksgiving and prayer” with our parish community. But I also rise and begin this day in thanks for so many gifts…
….the gift of friends who love me despite my failings and who support me in times of need,
….the gift of my sixteen-year old daughter, who still likes to hang out with me and who puts up with my bad jokes and worse singing,
….the gift of a husband who accepts my running hither and yon, only sometimes remembering to tell him what I’ve scheduled for me or for us,
….the gift of enough food to eat, a warm bed at night, the ability to see a doctor when I’m sick,
….the gift of God’s love and presence.
And on this Thanksgiving Day when I am so cognizant of the many blessings I have been given, I ask for God’s blessing in a special way for those who feel alone and friendless this day, for those who lack the basic necessities for human flourishing, and especially for those who have trouble finding God in the midst of their suffering. May the Lord bless and keep all of them…all of us…always.