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Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving


By Kathy Fanger
Parish Outreach Coordinator

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you. (Ps. 145:10)

In a few days, we will celebrate Thanksgiving…often a time when our family and friends, young and old, gather around a table, are nourished by a delicious meal and share stories of our lives. The day offers us the opportunity to extend a sincere welcome to one another, to connect heart to heart, to put aside past hurts, and to experience the love, joy and peace that God desires for all of us.

Thanksgiving is also a day to remember our beloved relatives and friends who have died and are now in heaven. We may be feeling deep sadness in missing their physical presence, yet we hold onto Jesus’ promise that he is preparing a place for us, too, and that we will be reunited with them one day.

So on Thanksgiving, we give thanks to God – our God who knows each of us personally, who blesses us every day, who walks with us through the joys and sorrows of our lives, and who will never leave us.

Next week, we begin the season of Advent – a season of hope. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” (John 3:16). “They shall call him Emmanuel, a name that means ‘God is with us.’” (Isaiah 7:14, Mt. 1:23)

The season of Advent also holds many opportunities for us. Will we be alert for how God “Emmanuel” breaks into our days?

Advent calls us to reach out to others, accompanying each other in our struggles, helping one another in whatever ways we can, bearing one another’s burdens, healing the broken-hearted. Perhaps it means a telephone call, a pleasant visit, or sending an uplifting card to someone who is sick or lonely. Do you know someone who is grieving, or recently separated or divorced? They often feel forgotten. Consider inviting them to a meal in your home or at a restaurant – a time where their spirits may be lifted.

You may consider volunteering at a shelter or food kitchen, or bringing toys, gifts, clothes or monetary donations that will help make Christmas a happier time for those less fortunate. Advent opportunities abound in bringing Christ’s light to others, one person at a time. We just need to act upon them. Invite a friend or family members to join you. It is in giving that we receive, where we will find true joy. Why not repay the Lord for all the Lord has given you?
Do it as an expression of thanks, to honor a loved one who has died. Reach out. Your love and kindness will bring Christ’s light and peace to them and to you.

National Wreaths Across America Day
Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Veterans Plaza
Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.,
followed by reception
Help place a wreath at every Veterans grave. Join us in saluting America’s Heroes. For more information, contact (650) 428-3730 or cemeteryinfo@dsj.org.