By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 17, 2016

The Psalmist writes, “I thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I sing praise to you before the gods. I face your holy Temple, bow down, and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme. You answered me when I called to you; with your strength, you strengthened me."

More than a season of the year or a day on the calendar, Thanksgiving is the posture and practice of gratitude. Thomas Merton once wrote, “Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

Gratitude opens our senses to a world of blessing. When you meet around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving, I pray that gratitude will bind those around the table and open space for dialogue, understanding, and a shared life.

Shauna Niequist reminds us how every table has the opportunity to become the Lord ’s Table of openness and love. “It is the genius of table fellowship,” she writes, “how bread, the food of the poor, and wine, the drink of the privileged reminds of what we share instead of what divides us.” Just as the aspirations of the story of Thanksgiving creates space for friendship and shared space, I pray that your tables are set wide and that your gatherings in these holy days bring all people together.