Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. The colors are vibrant. The harvest of summer is here. My favorite holiday arrives: Thanksgiving. Why this day? With all the celebrations and decorations and lights of Christmas, the fireworks of the Fourth of July and the profound meaning of Easter? It seems it is the one day when expectations are simple- gathering, eating and being grateful. It has none of the commercialization or busyness of other holidays. For Christians giving thanks is more than a public holiday. Our gratefulness is directed to a person. We are thankful to God.
Many people are thankful in a general way. We thank God for what we have: friends and family, clothes and food and shelter. Gratitude is the attitude of receiving God’s gift to us. It means to stop and enjoy God’s gifts and the One who gives it to us. It is a way of life. A way of life that moment by moment lives by the grace of God.
To give thanks is the same word as “eucharisteo”. The root of the word eucharisteo is charis- grace. Jesus gave thanks when he performed the miracles of the bread and fish multiplied hundreds of times. Jesus stopped and gave thanks (grace). The one who is grace, recognized grace. Grace to all. Jesus is God giving grace over and over. Did they see it? Did they realize that the source of grace was here? Apparently not, the crowds come back for more. He says to the to them you only have come back for another miracle. They miss grace. They only want more, they are not satisfied. When the disciples faced a fearful storm, Jesus said didn't you see what just happened and Who is here? Why are you afraid?
Then Jesus just before he dies, does it again. He breaks bread and gives thanks. This time it’s not a meal with thousands, but with just a few. Close, intimate and personal. He gives thanks. He "says grace", but not just a prayer. But is helping the disciples to see. Grace looks like a broken man and bleeding man. Broken for you. Grace of God the source of life.
Gratitude is the attitude of receiving God’s gifts to us. It means to stop and enjoy God’s graced gifts. Enjoy God the giver of good gifts. James Jesus’ brother says it this way.
This is why its my favorite holiday. I remind me of the selfless giving of God. When I remember that it gives me great joy- which is another way of saying grace.