I have to admit that in my younger life I had little appreciation for Thanksgiving.  I mean, I got the idea of being thankful for blessings received and our daily bread and for the gift of love (both Divine and UN Divine!) and all that.  I got it.  But the day itself.   Lord help me.  Anything but THANKS.

You see, I was the oldest grand child.  This meant many things over a period of many years.  Not the least of which is that I was the mainstay of the “Children’s Table” until I left for college.

But the time in my life that was most UN Thanksgiving was when I reached my teen years…. It was then that those that I had not seen since the LAST Thanksgiving would ask their questions in a faint effort to seem interested.  You know the questions… I know, you know.  So, I would arrive at my Aunt Rose’s house with more stress than a RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Uncle Ray would be first.  (Oh, and BTW, Ray was a confirmed bachelor.)  “Are you seeing anybody?”  At that question, the double  parlor in Aunt Rose’s house turned silent.  Even the TV volume went down.  I was on.

Of course, like all of us in the era, I was prepared.  “Julie”, … that was her name.  I kept it consistent in order to make it easier to remember.   And, also BTW, I dated  “Julie” until I was 35! I apologize to all Julie’s for using you.

That was a lot of feelings I was feeling but it was not THANKS!

This is the month of Thanksgiving.  If your family, like mine, shares thanksgivings before enjoying that delicious dinner, what are you going to give thanks for this year?  

Is it your family? Love?  friends? health? work? pets? sports teams? or many or even all of these?   Has it been a good or bad year for you?  Can you offer up Thanksgiving even if there has been distress or sadness, even despair?

This year more than any other year Thanksgiving may need to be oriented to the gifts and not the politics.  God is a God that gives abundantly.  God gives us life and delights in who we are, then God gives God’s son over to life so that we might gain an even greater sense of what it means to live. 

So BE ON!  Steel yourself against the relative that no one wants to sit next to and smile.  You are what God is giving thanks for!   You are God’s special creation that that shares an image that is light filled and good and accepting and kind.  Be thankful for that.

Rev. Timothy P. Carr
Rector, All Souls Episcopal Church