Don't forget about the challenges!
1. Frequent the Sacrament of Thanksgiving.
The Greek word Eucharistia means thanksgiving. We call it “Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God…[it] recalls the Jewish blessings that proclaim (especially during a meal) God’s works” (CCC 1328). When we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, in the Divine Liturgy of the Mass, we attend the most profound Thanksgiving meal, the heavenly banquet. So look at that! You can have the best Thanksgiving dinner every day at mass!
2. Share a meal.
All of our Lord’s greatest teachings were done over a meal or right after a meal. Food is such an important part of our Catholic theology. Jesus’ first miracle was the wedding at Cana, then there was the feeding of the 5,000, dining at Martha and Mary’s house, instructing Jarius’ daughter to be fed after she was healed, etc… all culminating in the Last Supper, the first Eucharistic meal and pointing through Jesus’ sacrifice of His body on the cross, to the heavenly banquet we all look forward to. So sit down with loved ones and just eat together. Laugh, enjoy company, have no agenda, just be – oh and eat!
3. A raisin in your stuffin’ praisin’.
Did you know there are 9 different words in Sacred Scripture for “thanks”? There are 4 Hebrew words in the Old Testament and 5 Greek words in the New. Two of these, yadah and towdah, also mean “to give praise.” Psalm 100:4 says, “enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name!” To Praise the Lord, is to pray recognizing the Lord as God, simply because He is God. It means to extol Him for His own sake and to give Him what is due to Him. Thanks and praise go hand in hand like turkey and gravy.
4. Have a Job Thanksgiving.
Have you ever read the book of Job? Job was the most righteous man of his day, and blessed by the Lord. Satan was not happy about this, and bet that Job would curse God if the Lord allowed Job to be afflicted. So he did. In one day almost all of Job’s livestock and livelihood was killed and all of Job’s sons and daughters were killed. But Job did not curse the Lord. So Satan afflicted Job’s health, but Job was faithful. Instead of saying, “WHY SWEET LORD ARE YOU ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME!?” which, lets be honest, that is probably what I would do, Job thanked the Lord. He praised the Lord. He blessed the Lord. One of my favorite verses in scripture is, “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). When the Lord gives do you praise and thank Him? When He takes away do you do the same? Give thanks for afflictions, hardships and difficult things in your life. You can do it!! I know from personal experience that, even in the worst situations, giving thanks and praise softens our hearts to get through it.
5. Give until it hurts.
Mother Teresa once said, “I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts.” This woman knew the true meaning of giving. We must make a sacrifice of ourselves for the good of another. It is not until our gift really costs us, (not limited to money) a part of us – our comfort, security, etc…, that we have given fully. I challenge you to give until it hurts this Thanksgiving. In giving that gift, you will find the greatest joy and fulfillment. Even more filling than cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and stuffing.
6. Drop some names.
Actually, only drop one name. Jesus Christ! Psalm 105:1 says, “O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples!” One of the greatest ways to give thanks to the Lord is by letting others know about the “wondrous things” (Psalm 98:1) He has done in your life. Think about it. When you get the greatest gift ever, after thanking the giver, what do you do? You run and tell someone! God proclaim Jesus’ name!
7. Get out. (and serve that is).
Especially when we are in a spiritual rut, the quickest way to recognize the Lord is active and at work in our lives is to make a gift of ourselves, to go outside of ourselves. When we serve others, when we make a gift of our time and talents, when we recognize the need in our brothers and sisters around us, we often recall all the blessings in our lives. When we are reminded of these blessings, we are presented with an opportunity to give thanks. So, rake that elderly neighbor’s yard! Volunteer the heck out of that soup kitchen! Go party with the elderly in a nursing home! Or just sit and play with your sibling – and make sure to tickle them.
8. Pull a 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
Giving thanks is so necessary, because it gives meaning to ALL things in our life. It places ALL things in context, in the context of a person – Jesus Christ.
Here is my challenge to you – give thanks, some kind of thanks – every. single. day. Your life will be transformed!
(The original article written by Maddy Bernero can be found HERE)