Thank God!

by Kevin Birnbaum

I’m generally not big into national holidays, but I like the idea of “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” as Abraham Lincoln put it when he proclaimed the occasion in 1863. Thanksgiving Day is a nice reminder that, as St. Thérèse said, “All is grace.”

It’s easy to forget that we really don’t deserve anything we have—our possessions, our talents, our achievements, our relationships. Ultimately, it’s all a gift. As I go through life, I’m more and more aware of all that I have to be thankful for:

Life itself. My Catholic faith and the sacraments. Loving family and friends. A good upbringing and education. Health. A reasonably well-functioning brain. A roof over my head. Plenty of food to eat. A job I enjoy. Time for leisure. Easy access to an unfathomable ocean of information, entertainment, and beauty. And so much more than I could ever list.

I didn’t earn any of this. And the things that I have “earned” in life I achieved through talents and circumstances which I did not earn. All is grace. It is all a gift.

And I know that, for whatever reason, I have been given much, much more than many, many people. That is no credit to me. It just means that I owe more, in love and service, to God and my neighbor. As Jesus said, “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required” (Lk 12:48).

But how could I ever repay God—how could I ever give sufficient thanks—for the gifts of an incredibly wonderful wife and what is quite possibly the most adorable baby born in the last two thousand years?
What about you—what are you thankful for?