Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Thanksgiving Day – Time for Gratitude and for the Action of Responsibility
Thanksgiving Day is upon us. It is a day when we get together with our families and loved ones to give thanks to God for the many blessings we have received. Thanksgiving is a national holiday and one which reminds us of the blessings bestowed upon us in our great nation.
As the Nativity of our Lord season draws near with the beginning of St. Philips’ Fast - Thanksgiving provides for us a chance to reflect upon the reality that giving thanks is part of the very nature of God Himself. We rightly think in terms of giving thanks to God but we do so because gratitude eternally flows from God.
Gratitude is an expression of love. God is love (1 Jn 4:8) and gives Himself away in love. On Thanksgiving, millions of Americans, from big cities to rural countryside, will bow their heads in prayer of gratitude for the blessings received but also asking God’s Mercy as we journey through COVID-19 Pandemic.
We live in a great nation with many blessings and freedoms for which we are deeply grateful. However, we live in times in which thankfulness and the capacity to take serious responsibility for life is of outmost importance. We offer gratitude to God for the gift of LIFE and His Divine Providence. But we must assume responsibility for the gifts that God gives us by being stewards of His generosity. This is at the heart of the nature of Thanksgiving.
Let us celebrate Thanksgiving by giving thanks and showing that we care for each other and the world in which we live. Let us look for someone in our family, someone with whom we work, someone within our community or even someone we only know from afar who in some way hurts these days. True gratitude will prompt a sense of responsibility which will bring tranquility and peace both to that person and to ourselves. Thanksgiving and care are expressions of each other. They are the very nature of God who for all eternity expresses thanksgiving in love and, in the course of human history, mercy, care and forgiveness.
Remember that the best way to give thanks to God for His abundant blessings upon us is to imitate Him by providing blessings to others.
Have a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving!
With prayers, love and care,