This month the COMPASS blog is sharing Thanksgiving-themed reflections, especially those that dig deeper into thinking about why we give thanks.
It’s only fair that I should answer this question since I am inviting so many others to share their thoughts here with you. For me, my honest answer is simply, what else can I do?
I’m reminded of the themes of Thanksgiving found throughout scripture, such as this paraphrased passage from 2 Chronicles which has been used to shape a number of song and hymn lyrics on the subject:
Give thanks to the Lord, “For God is good, for God’s steadfast love endures forever.” (based on 2 Chronicles 5:13)
For me thanksgiving and gratitude are a response. I believe that the gifts of God which I have come to believe and understand through Jesus Christ – such as life, love, hope, promise, and reconciliation—are just that: gifts. There is nothing I can do to earn them. There is nothing I can do to warrant them. Rather, they are gifts freely given by a God who creates, loves, sustains, calls, and invites us to be part of God’s acts of love, mercy, and creation.
I can thankfully respond to these gifts in at least three ways:
- Give thanks and praise to God,
- Live an abundant life, sharing this good news of the love and gifts of God for all people and creation,
- Participate in God’s work of love, hope, and reconciliation, as I believe God calls us all to do in our lives and vocations.
Giving thanks is all about living joyfully and gratefully for gifts beyond measure which I cannot do anything about but be thankful for. I give thanks for this love, and for all who have helped me to grow in my understanding of it. I give thanks for everyone who has shown and continues to show me such love, and hope that I can share this love with others.
I give thanks for meaningful work, and life-giving relationships. I give thanks for a loving and supportive spouse, and for my family full of people who also live out their vocations in thankful response to gifts far too numerous to count. I give thanks for friends, colleagues, peers, and mentors who live out their lives to the fullest and, whether they know it or not, provide inspiration for me and others to live fully like them.
Today, I particularly give thanks for a loving God, for the most supportive parents and grandparents I could have ever hoped for, for the most amazing life partner in my wife Allison, and for the supportive and exciting work of my siblings.
Who are you thankful for? What are you thankful for? And why do you give thanks?
Please join the conversation with COMPASS as we continue to reflect on why each of us gives thanks.
This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.