Today we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, a feast in which we gather to offer thanks and praise to God who is the source of everything we have. We trace the original American Thanksgiving back to the time of the Pilgrims, but the practice of designating days of thanksgiving predates even the English settlement of the Americas. Days marked for thanksgivings were set aside in Elizabethan England as feast days, in a similar manner that the people of France and Italy would celebrate the feasts of great saints and martyrs. Holding a day of thanksgiving was a special time for all to celebrate.
In our modern era, people often look at Thanksgiving Day as a time to recognize gratitude, and to incorporate the practice of gratitude all around us. Author Brené Brown, in “The Gifts of Imperfection” describes gratitude like this:
“When it comes to gratitude, the word that jumped out at me throughout this research process is practice. For years, I subscribed to the notion of an “attitude of gratitude.” I’ve since learned that an attitude is an orientation or a way of thinking and that “having an attitude” doesn’t always translate to a behavior. For example, it would be reasonable to say that I have a yoga attitude. The ideals and beliefs that guide my life are very in line with the ideas and beliefs that I associate with yoga. I value mindfulness, breathing, and the body-mind-spirit connection. I even have yoga outfits. But, let me assure you, my yoga attitude and outfits don’t mean jack if you put me on a yoga mat and ask me to stand on my head or strike a pose. Where it really matters-on the mat-my yoga attitude doesn’t count for much.
It seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works–it’s not alive.”
To Brown, practicing gratitude is part of a healthy life. For us at Trinity Cathedral, practicing gratitude is part of our health as a congregation.
And so on Thanksgiving morning, the people of Trinity Cathedral have opened our doors to everyone, and we offer warmth, hospitality and good food at our annual holiday breakfast. The generosity of warm hearts and abundant spirits are everywhere, and we offer to God our time in thanks and praise for all that we have and all that we are. Our work towards our community allows our hearts to be open to Christ to transform all around us, especially to renew our commitment to live and practice gratitude this day onwards.
Special thanks goes out to Dave Howell and his amazing team of volunteers who have made the Thanksgiving Day breakfast a testimony to the generosity of the people of Trinity Cathedral.
Together, we all make a tremendous difference in the lives of the people of Phoenix. We practice gratitude, and through Christ, we heal the world. I’m thankful for you!
The Very Reverend Troy D. Mendez