Beyond Thanks

This time of year we are reminded to give thanks to those around us and to be thankful for what we have. At its best, this can foster a deeper awareness of our many blessings; at its worst, it is nothing more than an autumnal refrain. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t protest against a second slice of pie or a generous serving of cornbread stuffing. But if all we do is heighten our awareness of “haves” and “have nots” then do any of us truly change for the better?

We know that the word Eucharist comes from the Greek meaning “thanksgiving” and yet we all struggle with living out what receiving the Body of Blood of Christ actually calls us to be. So why not try something new? Make a commitment to be life giving this holiday season. Give it through your actions and not your rhetoric. Go public with praise and be private with criticism. Get offline and go in person. Search out sources of joy and recognize they will always outnumber what can be faulted.

This time of year let’s challenge ourselves to not just know Christ but to be Christ for others. [In fact, this is the very mission of our parish which comes from our new advisory council]. In a beautiful phrase attributed to St. John Chrysostom, “If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice.” We cannot simply list blessings, we must become them for others. We must manifest hope in our treatment of the stranger, the person we disagree with at work, and those we love, all the same. To be beyond thankful calls us to model the way as Christ would ask of us—not just “this time of year” but with every breath of every day. Don’t make thanksgiving part of the holiday season. Make it part of who you are.

It’s a Great Day to be a Bulldog!

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