Tapping into the Spirit of Thanksgiving, Catholic Traditions

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We all look forward to having a delicious dinner with the family on Thanksgiving but there’s more to this occasion than just eating roast turkey and stuffing. Meaningful thanksgiving traditions help us remember the true essence of this wonderful holiday which is gratitude. 

Thanksgiving gives us and our loved ones the opportunity to be thankful to the source of all the blessings we have received all year round and that is our Heavenly Father. It is by His grace and mercy that we are able to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. Here are seven thanksgiving traditions that can help us tap into the spirit of thankfulness which this occasion calls for.

Read Bible Stories About God’s Grace

Our Faith teaches us to believe that God is the source of all our blessings and reading the Bible is a good way to remember this. There are many accounts in the Holy Book that capture the unwavering grace of God. For Thanksgiving this year, take time to read and reflect upon these Bible stories. Here are some stories from Scripture that we can read during Thanksgiving:

  • A Psalm of Thanksgiving, Psalm 100:1-5
  • The Church as Christ’s Body, Ephesians 1:15-23
  • The Return of the Twelve and the Feeding of the Five Thousand, Matthew 14:13-21
  • The Cleansing of the Ten Lepers, Luke 17:11-19
  • The Raising of Lazarus, John 11:1-44

Attend Mass as a Family

Thanksgiving is a great time to connect spiritually with our loved ones and family so set aside time during the day to go to mass together. The church is a great place to find inspiration necessary for navigating through today’s world. Go to church as a family and take time to remember that we need more than just physical provisions like food, clothes and shelter to survive. We need a stronger faith so that we can remain steadfast in the midst of our personal struggles and the church is an important place to grow spiritually as individuals and as part of God’s universal family.

Have a Family Trip

Instead of the usual Thanksgiving dinner at home, you and your loved ones can go on a trip someplace new. Consider going to a place that is quiet and where you can commune together as a family and reflect on the many things that you should be grateful for. You can go camping or have a beach trip with the whole family. Aside from spending time with your loved ones, take this as a chance to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and acknowledge how amazing God is as the creator of it all.

Recite a Thanksgiving Prayer

Prayer is one of the simplest but most essential Thanksgiving traditions that we can practice. When we pray individually and as a family we connect with God and acknowledge Him as the source of all our blessings. Before we begin the day, let’s take time to recite a prayer of gratitude to our Almighty Father for all that He has done for us and our family. 

Let us invoke gratitude in our hearts and minds to capture what Thanksgiving really is about. If you plan to have Thanksgiving get-together as a family, start the gathering off with a prayer of thanks. Make it more meaningful by asking everyone to recite an individual prayer in which they can express their heartfelt gratitude to God.


Thanksgiving Prayer

Lord, we thank you
 for the goodness of our people
 and for the spirit of justice
 that fills this nation.
 We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the
 land and the challenge of the cities.


We thank you for our work and our rest,
 for one another, and for our homes.
 We thank you, Lord:
 accept our thanksgiving on this day.
 We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Share Personal Stories of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is often celebrated with the family and this is great time to bond and nurture our relationship. Create an atmosphere of gratitude during your get-together by asking family members to share personal stories that made them thankful. Ask your loved ones to talk about moments that made them experience the abundance of God’s grace or any blessing or act of kindness that they are thankful for. You can do this after or during Thanksgiving dinner to make it more meaningful.

Expressing Words of Kindness

Gratitude is at the heart of Thanksgiving and we can manifest this by being thankful to everyone who is part of our lives. During this time of the year, make it a habit to express your gratitude to the people close to you. You can do this by simply talking to the people you are thankful for or you can go an extra mile and write them a heartfelt letter or give them a gift that captures your sentiment. Your gesture doesn’t have to be grand or expensive. The important thing is you are sincere in sharing how grateful you are.

Organize a Charity Event

7 Thanksgiving Traditions for Catholic Families | Catholic Faith Store

“It is better to give than to receive” and Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of how beautiful this message is. He lived His life serving others and spreading the good news of salvation. For Thanksgiving this year, consider organizing a charity event in which you can share your blessings and give back to the less fortunate. 

Find a charity group that shares your beliefs and advocacy. Pray and ask God for guidance on what charity organizations you should reach out to. Coordinate with the group on the ways you can help them out, it could be a feeding program or by donating used clothes or helping raise funds for their cause.

What thanksgiving traditions do you usually practice with your family? How do you plan to celebrate this special occasion this year?


http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/thanksgiving-day-prayer.cfm

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Author: Stephen Connelly

Stephen was born in Ireland but now calls Massachusetts home. He is married and together they have four children. Stephen loves writing, especially on his favorite subject Catholicism, and we are extremely fortunate that he has chosen to write for the Catholic Faith Store.

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