In many parishes of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, the pastors and faithful, in particular, many Ukrainian Orthodox League chapters, answer these questions by hosting community Thanksgiving meals or collect food and prepare bountiful baskets for families which are unable to afford such bounty with their own resources. In this manner we become the ones depended upon. What a powerful example of “gratitude in action”. This is the expression of love-charity and compassion taught to us by Christ our Lord.
Thanksgiving Day brings families together for a festive meal to enjoy one another’s company and love. At those family tables a prayer of gratitude to God is raised, properly including God in the joy of the moment. Our prayer is that more and more of our parishes invite their faithful to gather around the Table of our Lord on this national holiday to give thanks FIRST to God during Divine Liturgy. Though it is not an official ecclesiastical holy day – it is altogether proper to offer gratitude to God that we live in a nation that sets aside such a day for “thanksgiving”.
As you gather on Thanksgiving Day, wherever it is you gather and with whomever you gather, we hope you have a great day! We hope you will enjoy the traditions of the day. But be sure to remember that for us – Orthodox Christians, Thanksgiving is more than a Thursday in November. It’s more than enjoying turkey, pumpkin pie and football. It is about giving thanks and being a blessing for those around us.
May you all have safe journeys in your comings and your goings this holiday week and may the Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with all of you this Thanksgiving Day.
With deep gratitude to God for each of you as our spiritual children,