We don’t waste much time moving from Thanksgiving to Black Friday. Stores open their doors late on Thursday before the remnants of the feast are put away, dishes cleaned, and guests out the door. It seems we need to rush past the moment of gratitude for what we have been given to focus on accumulating more.
Thanksgiving has for me always been a comforting celebration. It does not have the complications of Christmas. It focuses on gathering around a table of plenty. Very Eucharistic, wouldn’t you say? We gather in twos, threes, tens or twenties knowing we are imperfect, yet we gather, nonetheless. At our best we reflect on what little we have done to deserve such graciousness, yet here it is before us. Blessed indeed.
First, though, we need to see what is before us. Gratitude wells up in us only when we recognize the gift. It might be the birth of child or grandchild. It might be that finally we can come together safely and vaccinated to share space and a meal. It might be one of us has returned to health or maybe we acknowledge and celebrate a life well lived.
Thanksgiving should be a daily celebration. The extravagant feast is not repeated each day, but a moment to notice what is given to us each day can be repeated every day. But like today’s Black Friday, as long as we are focused on what we don’t have, we will find it hard to relish all that we already have. What is it that? Simply this: “You are my beloved. In you, I am well pleased.”
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.