Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am feeling very grateful for Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation making it a national holiday set aside for giving thanks for all of God's blessings. It is such an enduring gift to us. It's especially significant that he issued this proclamation in the midst of the Civil War. He had the sense that setting a day apart for giving thanks was especially important during such a protracted time of intense suffering and divisiveness.
It's important for us to remember the origins of the national holiday this Thanksgiving, especially given the fractiousness of our times. Gratitude is a wonderful way to counter divisiveness. One way that you might want to put gratitude into practice tomorrow is to go around the table and ask each person to say the thing that they feel most thankful for during this past year. This simple exercise can really change the tenor and focus of your gathering. If you are spending a quiet Thanksgiving alone, you can light a candle, become aware of God's presence, picture Jesus sitting beside you and call to mind the things that you are most grateful for during the past year. Really spend some time giving thanks.
When we live from a grateful center, we have the strength to face the challenges of life without losing hope. When we really focus on gratitude, the light of Christ encircles those challenges and helps us to see that God is with us through every joy and every challenge.
I look forward to being together for the feast of Christ the King this Sunday, the day that crowns the 2018 liturgical year. I leave you with the collect for Christ the King.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 236)
Yours in Christ,