Showing Thanks In This Season of Giving
Thanksgiving is upon us! If you are like me, then your prayers begin with a heavy dose of thanks to God. We may give thanks for our very existence, for the blessings of our family and friends, for the bounty of our table, for the beauty and joy of creation.
On my run along the San Antonio river this morning, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the profusion before me: The babbling rush of water over weirs and rocks; the heron wading in shallow water, searching for its next meal; the cool breeze in my face; the endless delight of my dog Roscoe running beside me. It’s fair to say that, if I set about giving thanks for all of my blessings – not just what I encountered on my short morning run – it would take my whole life and leave little time for doing anything else.
Which makes me wonder: Have you ever noticed that in our most important template for prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, Christ does not have us “give thanks” for life’s blessings? We ask for our daily bread, we ask for forgiveness – among other things – but we do not explicitly give thanks. Perhaps it is because something different is expected of us than merely to give thanks.
You have probably heard it said more times than you can count – “I did such and such for him, and this is the way he shows his thanks!” You might hear it when someone thinks a selfless gift has been repaid with a selfish or thoughtless action. I may not always agree with the speaker’s viewpoint when I hear this, but it seems we are on to something with that expression. Perhaps Christ calls us to show thanks rather than merely to give thanks.
This season provides many opportunities for us to show thanks. Perhaps you might invite someone to join your Thanksgiving table who would otherwise spend the day alone. Perhaps you might send in your pledge card a little early this year, saving your vestry that familiar eleventh-hour heartburn in late December. Or perhaps—and you probably saw this coming – you might make a generous gift to Episcopal Relief & Development.
Our faithful supporters show their thanks by supporting programs that benefit millions of people living in nearly 40 countries throughout the world. We are present for children whose hope for living a full and productive life is threatened by malnutrition or disease, for women who seek to break free of a life lived under the threat of violence or worse, and for families desperately trying to hold on in the face of disasters wrought by climate change. The work of Episcopal Relief & Development is faith-inspired, but data-driven to ensure that the work we do has a measurable impact for those we serve.
On behalf of the people who serve this organization throughout the world, I thank you and wish you a joyous Thanksgiving!
Daniel McNeel “Neel” Lane, is Chairperson of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors
Photos: Top: Family enjoying farm in Nicaragua; Middle 1: Child petting pig in Nicaragua; Middle 2: Children learning in Jordan; Middle 3: Mother and Child asleep under Net provided by NetsforLife® in Ghana