“In the Spirit of Thanksgiving…” is the first portion of a sentence that I wrote in emails this week in preparation for Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. I really enjoyed this exercise, having to take stock of all the blessings I have accrued especially in the last year. My only regret is that my family does not do anything special similar to what I have heard and read about others’ traditions. Traditions such as telling each person why you are thankful that they are in your life, with specific examples given. Or that kernel in the basket idea. Nope. We simply say grace and dig into the turkey and gravy and all the other fixings.
So I sat on campus today, instead, and tried to tell God all the things and people I was thankful for, and I couldn’t come near to completing it!

Psalm 100
1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

My current fascination deals with the Christmas season that is approaching us: the level to which God had to humble Himself to willingly become human and be born of a woman.

I cannot imagine the extent to which God humbled Himself for us; its not equivalent to Bill Gates giving up his riches for a life on skid row. I do not even think that the word “humble” even does justice to the action of love and mercy it was committed under. Is there a word in our language to convey such deep meaning?

Our minds don’t even seem to be capable of comprehending the act on the level to which it was performed, either.

Or for a similar comparison:
The courage and social daring undertaking Mary took on when she said yes to our Lord to bear His Son. First of all, she was Immaculate, pure, holy, and graceful. On top of that she called herself the handmaiden of the Lord, a statement of servitude that most of us are not willing to swallow our pride for. Imagine how alone in the world she must have felt to be an unwed virgin suddenly with child claiming that her unborn child is the Messiah! Or how uncertain she was as to whether Joseph would still take her as his wife?

Just something to ponder during this Holy Season.

There is a song we sing at Mass on occassion which has a verse: “And they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, Yes, they will know we are Christians by our love.” Then there are the countless instances in the Bible where Christ continuously tells us to love our enemies. We are to pray for and love our enemies.

It is a tall order, one that I cannot claim to have achieved very much at all. But I kept hearing this message for most of Tuesday and Wednesday on the radio and in the songs that were sung. I got to thinking, maybe I’m supposed to be doing that in my life right now.

Where to start? Better yet, how to start? What about the family? I know I don’t love all my family members. They are family, you say, and therefore you must love them, how could you not? Easily enough when family states one thing (Christianity) and practices quite anouther (pornography, the occultic, lacking self-respect, etc). So, I have my where, but how?

But realizing that our parents and siblings love us enough to have not thrown us out into the streets, or for not having aborted us. Or for feeding and clothing us. We are blest with life. Isn’t that reason enough? Not always, we want to be shown that we are loved beyond the basic needs. Birthday presents (check), extra little things like lip balms and jewerly galore (check), loving acts (maybe not); ah, there’s the troubling spot!

So how to move beyond that? Prayer, I suppose. I have no experience in this. I’m just starting. But starting to love is better than being bitter and angry. If we are made in the image of God, and made to love, then we really aren’t constructed to carry the nasty burden and aftertaste of anger, grudges, hate, and fear.

Show them first through prayer, and then love what it means to be Christian. Sow the seed, let God do the growing. Right?

This morning on the Christian radio station I listen to a man was preaching about how each and every single man and woman on this Earth was created by God, with each one bearing the “fingerprint” of God. He cited Genesis 1:27 (I believe that is the correct passage) in saying that God made man and woman equal in his image.

That was a nice message to listen to while pulling into my parking space on campus. College is a great place to forget where you came from, and who you are supposed to be living for. I think a wonderful way to get back on track is to remember that each of us comes from God, and we are all loved by God.

So, for me today, I can’t go around thinking that someone is ugly, because through God we are each made beautiful by the mere fact that God created us for His kingdom and for His work to be done on Earth.

You are beautiful/handsome. How does that make you feel? It swells you up with gratitude that you are loved by someone and encourages you to praise God.
At least, I hope it does that for you.