Thanksgiving is one of my favorite secular yet faith-based holidays of the year: food, family and fun abound, and there’s no fretting over gifts save those that fit inside a pie plate or upon a ceramic platter.
Yesterday I joined with my church family at the early Mass, then kept my cellphone warm with round-robin texting of Thanksgiving well-wishes before the trip to my brother’s house for dinner. Our family and friends feasted upon the fastidiously-fashioned foodstuffs… (okay, I’ll stop; apparently tryptophan provokes alliteration as well as sleepiness). The ten of us ate far too much of the lovingly-prepared food, then played board games with the children as the televised football games blared from the living room. Thanks be to God for family, friends, and food.
This morning, I indulged in my favorite post-Thanksgiving activity: sloth. I sat at the kitchen table with a mug of hot coffee and a fresh bagel as I leafed through a stack of stale newspapers that had accumulated while I had worked overtime at all three jobs this past week. An interview with a 91-year-old woman instructor of a writing class at a senior care center in West Orange caught my eye.
Worried that her long life had been a failure, the nonagenarian nonetheless decided to record her thoughts and discovered a new purpose for her remaining days. She taught her fellow residents that each life has value; if one penned recollections or future plans, one might find “triumphant peace” in their daily actions, the woman maintained.
That phrase resonates in me: triumphant peace. Like sunshine through windows lining a dark hallway, it is warmth and light and a beacon to travel onward in confidence. I experience that fulfilling, joyful yet steadying presence of God as I sing or write, and I thank Him for the opportunities He has given me to share those talents with others.
This Sunday marks the start of Advent. As the Church begins the period of longing, and as you light the purple and pink candles on the wreath week by week, may you find that triumphant peace readying your heart for the coming of the babe in the manger, our Savior.