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Center for Catholic Education at UD

A Celebration of Togetherness: A Thanksgiving Reflection

By Ava Gravino and Elena Niese

Thanksgiving. A celebration of togetherness. It is a day to cherish family, food, and faith. We gather together around the table to celebrate all that life has to offer; we share with each other and with God. This sharing calls us to participate in the delight of God's creation, both in the food prepared, but more importantly with one another. 

This concept of gathering around the table is also very Marianist in nature. In fact, much of the Marianist approach to Christian community and discipleship can be captured in the very image of setting the table. It all begins with a round table, whose shape excludes no one and and allows all to partake as equals. It is adorned with a tablecloth, which covers the circular shape with a tone of celebration. Then, the dishes are set on the table, creating a bridge to the sense of togetherness that will soon be shared over a meal. It is a meal where bread can be broken and life can be shared. Here, around the table, gathered together, all are welcome, all have a voice, and all belong.  

In many ways, my family celebrates Thanksgiving in the same spirit as the Marianists. It is the one holiday where we are all willing to travel and gather together around the table. My many relatives and I indulge in a feast big enough to feed a village. We laugh and boast as we scarf down buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. One of my favorite traditions is a game night that follows dinner, prior to the prime event--dessert. We indulge in pumpkin pie, apple pie, pizzelles, and wine. As I glance around the oversized table at all the food and family, I realize the beauty of togetherness. I gain a new appreciation for the Marianist charism, too. There is no shortage of camaraderie at the Thanksgiving table as we indulge in food for the stomach and the soul. There is a profound unity as we share as children of Christ. 

Thanksgiving is also a time to share blessings with those who are not around the table, too. The Marianist charism not only calls us to share Christ with one another, but to be Christ with the less fortunate around us. Gratitude is demonstrated best through action and service, such as donating to a local food drive. You can also engage in acts of kindness by giving a neighbor a helping hand or in sacrificing small things for your family. 

Thanksgiving. A celebration of togetherness. A time of gratitude and communal joy. Although it is a great excuse to eat as much as your heart desires, it is also a time to truly acknowledge our blessings and give thanks to God just as the Marianists and my family so thoughtfully do.  


How can you practice gratitude in the Marianist spirit of togetherness this holiday season? What are you grateful for? 

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