The Peace of Thanksgiving
By: Kayla Faherty
I love Thanksgiving. For our family, the Thanksgiving holiday is a time to come together, enjoy a good home-cooked meal, and express thanks for the many blessings of the year. This time of year is filled with anticipation, as Advent and Christmas are fast approaching. I am reminded of God’s love for me, and how He pours out that love by entrusting me with so many blessings. As I reflect on these many blessings, I am made aware of the peace that accompanies a thankful heart.
This past summer for our 6th wedding anniversary, my husband and I took a family trip to Seton Hill University. It was here that we met, discovered our love for each other, and were married. While walking around campus, we went to the Grotto. There we spotted a luna moth. I had been asking for intercessory prayers from the Blessed Mother, and it was during that moment of prayer that I was overcome with such peace. I looked around me and saw my husband and two girls, and realized I had been so very blessed. I wanted to keep the spirit of thanksgiving I had in that moment for all times. I was pregnant then, but did not yet know it.
That seems to be how thankfulness works for me. I am walking along and take a moment to turn my heart to God. In that moment, I am made keenly aware of God’s mercy, His love, and His faithfulness. I realize that this life is not about me. He has made me a steward of so much, and it is Christ who strengthens me. I would have miscarriage. And in the midst of the grief that would follow, the Holy Spirit brings to mind that moment in which my heart was overflowing with thankfulness to God. The peace that filled my spirit carried me through a very sad time.
As God calls me to turn my heart to Him, to surrender my life to His will, I am filled with His grace. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And the surest way to peace in my life is through thanksgiving. It is only through that experience that I am able to look at life through new eyes. The Holy Spirit has given me a deeper appreciation of all that I am, and of all that I have. I am sincerely grateful for all of God’s gifts. I have never before been filled with more joy for life. I love my husband so much more deeply than I ever imagined I was capable of. I recognize both my daughters for the joys they truly are and of the great privilege I have been given as their mother. The love God has shown me through family, friends, and acquaintances helps me to recognize my place as a daughter of God. As I realize God loves me without reservation in the good times and the not-so-good times I am able to give Him the glory always.
Saint Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 to “Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” Every event, every situation, truly everything can become an offering of thanksgiving. And when we are thankful in each moment, regardless of what is going on, we can experience the peace that only the Holy Spirit can provide. When we look to the One who creates us and loves us, who holds us in the palm of His hand, we are filled with thankfulness. And in this thankfulness we discover God’s peace.
My friend, reflect on the many blessings of this past year. What are you thankful for? Open up your heart and let God’s love pour in. May peace be with you.