A day set aside to give thanks is splendid. The significance of the day deepens when we use it to commit ourselves to a regular practice of gratitude. Thinking of a few things every day for which we are grateful and giving thanks for those things is a powerful spiritual force when practiced regularly over time. It opens our hearts to be more responsive to others, more compassionate, and more aware of God’s presence in our world and our own lives. We are grateful for things that we love; feeling gratitude for something is like falling in love with it to at least some degree.
Gratitude is intertwined with love, hope, and faith, all essential elements of a spirituality that results in and supports an ethic of environmental stewardship. When we are grateful for the land, waters, plants, and animals and for our sisters and brothers with whom we share this planet, we are in compassionate relationship with the world around us. The more we know the natural world around us, the more likely we are to fall in love with it and care for it. A regular practice of gratitude helps us fall in love with the wonders of creation over and over again, deepening our love for and relationship with God’s creation each time we give thanks for some part of it. As our love for God’s creation deepens, our love for the Creator deepens as well.
As children, some of us could hardly wait for the Thanksgiving dinner to be over so we could go outside and play. Finding some time to get outdoors, even for a few minutes, and give thanks for what we find there brings joy to adults as well as children. May Thanksgiving joy be yours!
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us; And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed; And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
("Now thank we all our God")