“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thessalonians 5:18)
Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity for recognizing the blessings bestowed on us by God and to express gratitude. This year in light of COVID – 19 you may be questioning your ability to practice gratitude. You may be wondering how can I celebrate the holidays safely during this pandemic and be thankful? How can I be grateful?
According to the National Catholic Reporter, “There is nothing mystic about the idea of gratitude. It is alongside praise, with which it is intimately linked, the foundation of Catholic spiritual life. Saint Paul, relying on the Psalms, begins several of his letters with a prayer of thanksgiving. Saint Francis closes his Canticle of the Sun with the words, “Praise and blessing my Lord, give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.”
Gratitude is an important virtue flowing from humility. Gratitude is a thankful disposition of mind and heart. In our culture it is sometimes easy to forget how God has provided for us personally when you are focused on the blessings of others. “Temptations are thrown in our path relentlessly and we can sometimes lose perspective on our blessings …” Christians, living a life rooted in gratitude help us grow in our faith.
Emily Jaminet provides some simple steps to grow in gratitude:
- If you are struggling with being grateful, take this matter to your prayer time. Ask the Lord for more graces to accept each moment of your life, as it is, and to overcome whatever is holding you back from being grateful.
- Surround yourself with people who are grateful for life
- Focus on the non-material world where we share our thanks with words of affirmation, kind deeds, and prayers of thanksgiving.
- Forgive those who have hurt you or robbed you of your joy.
- Seek to mend relationships. When we seek out to strengthen our relationship with others, we grow closer to Christ and we grow in gratitude.
- Anxiety and stress can lead us away from gratitude. Take a breather, detach and unplug. Spend time in nature or go to Eucharistic Adoration for some restful quiet time with Jesus.
- Look at the past with gratitude. It helps to create beautiful memories and helps us to navigate our life.
Saint John Paul II said, “Remember the past with gratitude … live the present with enthusiasm and … look forward to the future with confidence.”
Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.
The CDC has shared planning considerations for the holidays. Go to www.cdc.gov for complete COVID information. Highlights are as follows:
- Stay home if you have tested (+) with no symptoms or have been exposed to a person with COVID – 19. Reduce the spread.
- Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If water not available use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub hands till dry, including between fingers. Cover coughs and sneezes. Discourage handshakes, fist pumps and high 5’s.
- Wear a mask – masks are meant to protect others including your family and friends. Masks should not be worn by:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Anyone who has trouble breathing
- Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Social Distancing – keep 6 feet apart, usually two adult arm lengths