Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and gratitude, when people come together to give thanks for the blessings they have received during the year, but it can also be a time of loneliness, depression and stress for some.  According to US News, many experience family tension, insomnia, sorrow and depression particularly over losses during both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A trade group did an online poll and found nearly three-fourths of participants reported feeling more anxious and depressed during the holiday season.  Could the spread of secularism and movement away from God and faith be feeding these issues? I’d bet the farm they are.  As the saying goes all is possible with God. 

While we think of the first Thanksgiving as a simple meal between a group of settlers and American Indians it goes far beyond that. Pilgrims celebrated a hard-fought harvest in a new land with a long day of fasting and prayer in church.  Indians celebrated by honoring spirits that sustained them in a similar way.  God and faith were always there.  As a matter of fact, Squanto, an Indian at the first Thanksgiving was actually a Catholic who survived a slave experience by calling on his faith.  So, the first Thanksgiving was indeed a God loving and religious experience deeply rooted in Christian faith. 

It was then and is today a time to give thanks to God for all the blessings and love we have received throughout the year.  The Eucharist which is the center of the Catholic faith is also known as the “act of thanksgiving”.  The Mass itself is the highest form of thanksgiving to God on Earth.1

According the the Bible, giving thanks is an important part of the Christian faith.  The book of Psalms are full of songs of Thanksgiving and praise to God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul writes “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus”.  Reminds us that even in tough times and situations, we should be thankful.

If you are depressed, sad or anxious during this holiday season ask God for help.  Admit to Him you cannot do it alone and need His help.  Be specific.  Have faith that God is listening, and He can help you, Pray, hope and don’t worry, as Padre Pio would always encourage.  Speak to God, one on one or just recite a prayer that resonates with you.  If you don’t know any just do some searches, something will surely warm you.  And show the gift of patience.  As the saying goes God works in mysterious ways …. and on His own terms. Again, pray.

This may also be a perfect time to form a collaborative relationship with a faith-based therapist who can combine a love of God and a belief of the importance of faith, with the support and guidance of a successful science. A therapist can help manage family dynamics of a stressful holiday and provide certain coping mechanisms, help cope with loneliness, deal with grief, manage stress and most importantly practice gratitude.  The combination of God and the science He created can bring solace, hope and joy this joyous season. 



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