“As Orthodox Christians this gratefulness to God is something we share with all who celebrate this day. It is also an attitude and manner of life that is presented in our worship and in our relationships with others.”
This is a short excerpt from Archbishop Demetrios’ encyclical for Thanksgiving Day, 2011. Father Gabriel Bultz read it from the pulpit at Saints Markella and Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Mary Esther, Florida, where I visited again this past Sunday. Then he made a few comments about how important it is that our faith is lived out in our actions towards others, and how that starts with being thankful. He said that thankful people reach out to others.
As simple as those words may sound, it’s amazing how often we don’t relate to others with this attitude. I was blessed by these words on Sunday, and by Father Gabriel’s genuine call (he was close to tears) to his people to embrace this American holiday, especially as he spoke with his lovely Romanian accent.
I love that Archbishop Demetrios says in his encyclical that we (Orthodox Christians) share an attitude of gratefulness “with all who celebrate this day.” I guess that means all Americans. Of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds and political leanings.
This week I’m thankful for many things. For being able to spend a month writing here at this beautiful beach. For healthy children, grandchildren, Godchildren, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. For friends who show me what thankfulness is by the way they love me unconditionally.
As Archbishop Demetrios says, “Is your life a witness of thanksgiving, bringing blessings and strength to others?”
I’m posting the day before Thanksgiving because my oldest son, Jon, is arriving from Savannah today, and my husband flies down from Memphis tonight to spend the weekend with us. On Saturday my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their granddaughter will drive down from Atlanta. It’s been several years since this particular group of our family has been together. What a treat. (Although I miss my Denver babies very much, I look forward to visiting them for New Year’s.)
Happy Thanksgiving. Let’ all be thankful people.
P. S. You can read Archbishop Demetrios’ letter here.
P. S. S. I'm especially thankful for sunsets.