My sister sent me 14 humor statements about what is happening today.

The first reads, “The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.”

The last one, “The spread of COVID-19 is based on two things: 1) How dense the population is. 2) How dense the population is.”

Next week is Thanksgiving and the Pandemic has changed many things for us. Many of our plans and dreams for 2020 have drastically changed. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in most states in our nation.

With all that has occurred this year, what will be different this Thanksgiving, and what is more important, are we different? What values have shaped our lives because of the challenges of 2020? Are we more compassionate and caring or are we more critical and cynical?

Are we more accepting of people different from us or are we fearful and judgmental of them? Are we hoarding our goods or sharing with those who lack the essentials of life? Are we able to strip away our cultural and political differences and see that we are one human family creating in the image and likeness of our God? Do we feel like we are victims of some evil plot?

Having a grateful disposition has many positive outcomes. Grateful people have more life satisfaction; they experience more happiness in their lives; they are more optimistic and see the glass as half full rather than half empty; they have lower amount of anxiety and are less depressed; they live longer; and they are less envious of others and are less possessive of others.

Do you agree with the following statements?

1) I am thankful for so many things in my life.

2) If I had to list all the things for which I am grateful, it would be a very long list.

3) I am grateful to many people who have shaped my life.

4) As I get older, I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events and situations that have been part of my life history.

If you can say yes to the above four statements, you are a grateful person.

With all the problems facing us today, it’s so easy to become negative and critical, and fail to have a sense of gratitude. We can see ourselves as victims and react in a hostile or negative matter.

We can’t control whatever happens to us but we can control what we do about it. We have choices. If life serves us lemons, we can make lemonade.

St. Paul tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (Thes. 5:16-18)

The author of Hebrews declares, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.” (Heb. 12:28)

The following prayer can be used at Thanksgiving or anytime.

O Gracious God, thank you for creating us and giving us to each other in the human family.

Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness.

Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives.

Thank you for all your blessings, gifts, and graces. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given us.

On this Thanksgiving Day, we especially give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us.

Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and for this feast today.

Thank you for our home, our family, and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here.

Thank you for our health, our work, and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering from war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your Son. Amen.

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