Gratitude is the pillar of the Thanksgiving and Advent seasons. We prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord while we spend time prayerfully reflecting on the abundance of blessings we have received through Jesus Christ. We thank him for the gifts he has given us, and we hope to reciprocate his love for us by showing our love for him.
But how do we do this? How do we show God how much we love him? We can start by examining the word gratitude.
While we understand that it means being thankful, gratitude’s true meaning is much deeper, and a hallmark of our Catholic faith. Gratitude means giving thanks for what we have while also showing appreciation and a willingness to return kindness to the world.
With this meaning, we can see that gratitude is also an important characteristic of our relationship with God. God had his only son, Jesus, come down from heaven as a human, just like us. He was sent to us to forgive our sins and prove God’s unconditional love for all of us. Now, we show our gratitude for Christ by extending this power of unconditional love to all those around us. It is through our compassion for others that we reciprocate God’s love for us.
This year has been a challenging year for everyone. There is no one who has been left completely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. And as we approach the Christmas season, these challenges will be greater for many. We must be mindful of this, and share our compassion, love and generosity more than ever before.
It is difficult to welcome guests into our homes for the holidays this year, but we can always joyfully welcome Jesus. We welcome him into our hearts, asking him to guide us through this difficult time. We welcome him in the face of strangers by sharing our blessings and saying “thank you” to all who have given us so much in our lives.
Take the blessings you have been given and share them abundantly with those around you — family, friends and even strangers who may need your help. And remember — the true meaning of gratitude means sending kindnesses out into the world, just as we have received them. Take time this year to nurture the gifts you have been given so they can be shared.
As we prepare for the Advent season, be thankful, be understanding, be gracious and be kind. Know that the smallest act of compassion can make the biggest impact on someone else. Welcome Jesus into your heart, and most importantly, never lose sight of the fact that everything we do, we do for his greater glory.
May God bless you. Have a blessed Advent.
Sarah Hanley is the president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia. To learn more, visit TheCFGP.org or call 215-587-5650.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Share this story