Each year, Thanksgiving Day brings football, further attempts at the demise of the turkey population, and family gatherings. It’s a day to celebrate and give thanks for all the blessings we’ve been given. And what better way to celebrate than to be with the people we love and to partake of some of our favorite foods—fried turkey, perhaps, and some nice sweet potatoes covered with pecans, brown sugar, and marshmallows . . . Here’s hoping.
In a particular way, Thanksgiving is a day to gives thanks to family, especially parents. Not only did our parents give us life; they also provided for us, and this in both obvious and not-so-obvious ways.
In many families, the mother is the most “visible” provider. She instructs her children, teaching and correcting them in the day-to-day aspects of familial life. A father’s work, on the other hand, is often not so visible. As the primary breadwinner, he puts food on the table and ensures the provision of other resources, without which the rearing and education of children would be impossible. In this regard, Thanksgiving can be a day to remember, in a particular way, the sweat and tears of our fathers, who helped to provide in ways we never saw.
This can be said even more perfectly of our heavenly Father, the giver of all good gifts (Jm 1:17). Not only is He the cause of all the visible things for which we give thanks—sweet potatoes, pumpkin pies, turkeys, and the eventual post-Thanksgiving-dinner doze—but He is also the giver of all the invisible graces we receive. This year, we especially give thanks for the gift of faith, which God lavishes upon us when we begin our new life at Baptism, and which he continues to nourish in us all through life.
Throughout the ages, this gift of faith has been passed down from generation to generation. Whether it was through the witness of the martyrs, like St. Cecilia, who laid down her life to protect her first and most cherished freedom (namely, living out the life of faith), or through the immigrants who worked so tirelessly to ensure that their descendants would have the freedom to live their faith in this great country, or through the labor of our parents, we have so much for which to be thankful.
This Thanksgiving, then, it only seems fitting to say, to both our fathers and our Father, “Thanks, Dad.”