“We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
Can you imagine how those Thessalonian Christians felt when they received that greeting from St. Paul?
“Thank You!” Those are two words that all of us love to hear. Sometimes, a simple “thank you” can change the course of a day. I have seen a grumpy, bummer day suddenly become a good day because someone took time to say thank you. I guess it is because those words indicate that someone else truly appreciated something I did or maybe truly appreciated me as a person. That feels good inside.
If feeling appreciated means so much to us and makes us feel so good, can you imagine how much it means to our Lord for us to thank Him for His bountiful gifts to us? As we head toward Thanksgiving later this week, it would be good for us to take time to say thank you to the Lord first and to those around us who have helped us or been special in our lives. One of the traditions in my home on Thanksgiving is for each person at the dinner table to share one thing they are thankful for this year. It sounds simple, but it has brought about some really good conversations and good feelings.
All of us can recognize how much giving thanks can help us and others in our physical lives. But giving thanks can benefit us far beyond the physical realm. It can be a great blessing in our spiritual lives. First and foremost, we should give thanks to our Lord in our
prayers. Here is a wonderful quote from Archimandrite Meletios (I added the parentheses):
There are three little prayers which are indispensable and all-encompassing:
1. Lord have mercy. (We pray this often!)
2. Thy will be done. (We pray this every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer!)
3. Thank you. (Hmmm… how often do we say this prayer from our hearts?)
This Thanksgiving we can remember that it is God Who is there for us every moment of every day and we can truly thank Him from the depths of our hearts. As we do this, our Thanksgiving holiday will become much more than a wonderful dinner with all the trimmings. It will be a day of great spiritual blessing in our lives. It will truly become a day of Thanksgiving!
May each day this week leading up to Thanksgiving be a blessed day of giving thanks…first to the Lord and then to all those in our lives! And remember those three little prayers:
1. Lord have mercy.
2. Thy will be done.
3. Thank you.