Holidays/My Culture I’m Thankful That He Picks Me by Rachel Leininger What do you guys do for Thanksgiving? We always start out at my great-aunt’s house, with my mom’s whole family – 65 people or so, on a good year. We watch football, eat turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and sweet potato casserole to the point of illness, and then sit around and complain about how we ate too much, and then have some of my grandma’s pumpkin and apple pies. …then, we travel over to my dad’s side of the family and eat some more. And it’s fantastic. I know that not everyone has a similar experience – and trust me, I paint a nice picture, but by no means is my family perfect. Every family has its issues and not everyone spends their Turkey Day gorging on the traditional American food-fest. Do you have that tradition where you sit around the table and say all the things you’re thankful for? We don’t. We’re too busy complaining about how full we are. Not that we aren’t grateful, too, but we’re just really, really full. There’s a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my family, and my friends, and my home, and my job, and my health, and my stuff, but none of that really compares to the fact that I am thankful that God picks me. “I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 Not just that God picks me to do some work for Him, or write some stuff for Him, or hang out with some teenagers for Him, but I’m thankful that He picks me, for Him. He picks you, too. He has chosen you to be His. And I don’t know if that means much to you, but it’s made all the difference for me. For me, being His means that my life has a purpose, a plan, and a direction. It means great friends and a solid faith family. It means confidence, courage, and trust that He provides everything I need to make it through this crazy life. And it means that He is always with me, until the end of the age – He said so (Matthew 28:20). The word ‘eucharist’ means ‘thanksgiving’ in Greek; did you know that? It’s a meal that we come to, and I hope you come grateful. Not only grateful that He picks you, but grateful that He feeds you. And that meal is one of the ways He stays with us, always. Because as often as we come to the Eucharist, He comes to us. Think about it: the Mass looks an awful lot like a Thanksgiving meal. You gather around a table with your extended family, maybe some members you get along with better than others. And there, we are fed to the point of exploding – whether we know realize it or not. The God of the universe comes to us in the form of bread and wine, and we take Him into our bodies. I know there are times when that is hard to understand, and times where it seems like we almost get it… but no matter where we’re at, He’s always the same. And no matter what’s going on in our lives – whether everything is great or everything is terrible or we land somewhere in the middle – He is with us, always. I know the holidays can be a tough time of year, and I hope your Thanksgiving is full of family and food and fun (and not one note of Christmas music, because that’s just wrong). But no matter what your Thursday, November 28th, 2013 looks like – if it’s turkey-tastic, or if it’s just another Thursday – I hope your Eucharists are full of thanksgiving. He’s available to you, every day, so come to Him thankful for all the ways He’s at work in your life, and with thanksgiving that He picks you. He wants you, to be His – thank God.