How do you give thanks?

The Scripture

Matthew 6:25-33
as told by Deborah

Jesus said, “I’m telling you: don’t worry about your life — about what you’ll eat, or what you’ll drink, or about your health, or what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

“Look at the birds coasting along on the breeze; they don’t plant or harvest or build granaries, but God feeds them. Aren’t you just as valuable?

“Besides, what good will worrying do? It doesn’t change anything.

“And why are you concerned with clothes? Think of a hillside filled with wildflowers; a riot of color and beauty. They don’t shop or sew or select what they’ll wear; but no king’s royal robes are half as glorious.

“And if God takes such care to dress the weeds in the fields — which bloom one day and wither the next — won’t you, too, be taken care of, O doubters?

“So stop worrying about what to eat, or what to drink, or what you’ll wear. Those without faith spend their lives pursuing such things, but you should trust that God understands and will provide what you need.

“When you pursue God’s way, all else will fall into place.”

Photo of a flower

~ Reflection ~ by Deborah Beach Giordano
November 23, 2015


It would be hard to find a more meaningful and appropriate scripture for Thanksgiving week than this passage from Matthew. It’s a reminder that the holiday is not about what we eat, or what we drink, or what we wear. Thanksgiving is about being thankful.

We’re informed — through advertising, the media, and even the pulpit — that Thanksgiving should find us in a certain place, with certain people, eating certain foods, doing certain things. But what if we aren’t?

Thanksgiving footballerDoes it still count if we don’t eat turkey, or don’t like green beans, or avoid candied yams (yuck!)? Surely vegetarians and vegans are able to celebrate Thanksgiving, too.

What if we don’t have a white tablecloth, or lighted candles, or seating for twenty? What if we “don’t have a thing to wear”? What if the cable is down and we can’t watch football?? Does it still count as Thanksgiving?


We can easily brush such silliness aside. Of course none of those things really matter.

But the same is true of the other “Thanksgiving traditions.” What matters isn’t what we eat or drink or wear (or watch on tv); what matters is that what we are doing gives us cause to be thankful.

paint can and brushI know a number of people who spend this day as blessing-bearers: working in soup kitchens, cleaning up the beach, visiting shut-ins, playing the piano for nursing home residents. One fellow spent last Thanksgiving day painting his elderly neighbor’s kitchen ceiling.

Preach the Gospel at all times,
when necessary, use words.
      ~ St. Francis of Assisi

Some will partake of the opportunity to gather with loved ones from far and near to share in good times and sweet memories. Whether they dine on turkey or Chinese take-out, their time together is a blessing. Others will rejoice in the gift of a “safe distance,” grateful for the miles that keep them apart from those who cause pain.

It all depends on how we choose to “give thanks.”


Recent world events have given us a renewed perspective on what really matters. The horrors in Paris and elsewhere are powerful reminders of how precious and transient are the gifts God gives to us.

Even those blessed with longevity have only a short while on earth. But we squander our lives on incidentals; worrying about what we will eat, what we will wear, what others might think or say or do… Yet, to paraphrase the Lord Christ, “Worrying doesn’t change a thing.”

Worry is a thief and deceiver, wasting our time and misdirecting our attention, causing us to focus on a distant mirage as if it were reality. Constantly pointing us toward a future fear, it steals from us the joys and possibilities we have today.

When we worry we are looking at the future with distrust and suspicion, expecting the worst; but our Lord teaches us to live in faith. We are to believe in God’s goodness: let go of our fears, let go of stuff and nonsense, and trust that all will be well. As Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows all that you need” (Mt 6:32).

prayer and praise encircling the earth

And so, with joyful awareness of our current blessings and confidence in those to come, we give thanks — today and every day.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,


This Week's Suggested Spiritual Exercise

Today I Am Thankful

Today I am thankful
for this day,
this life,
this world.

Today I am thankful
for goodness,
for beauty,
for hope.

Today I am thankful
for where I have been,
who I have met,
what I have seen.

Today I am thankful
for the challenges,
the troubles,
the joys.

Today I am thankful
for the glory of creation,
the strength that sees me through,
the unfailing light of Love.

Today I am thankful
for where I am,
what I am,
who I am.

Today I am thankful
for the gracious One
who has given me