Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who takes the time to read these thoughts of mine. Anyone who cares enough about the way you think and express yourself to actually use some of their valuable time to bother reading is certainly worth thanking.

There are many others in my life for whom I am thankful that they are a part. There are many things, situations, events, objects, opportunities for which I am particularly thankful this year. But there is one above all others to whom I am grateful for providing the blessings of all those others in my life.

Thank you, God.

Thank you for the wife whom you directed into my life more than 17 years ago. Thank you for providing to her the gifts that have enabled her to grow with me, forgive me, love me. Thank you particularly for the gift of the time we’ve spent together all these years. Most particularly, for bringing us together in an understanding and acceptance of faith in your son, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for my daughters and my grandchildren. They have provided incredible love, color, and depth to the experiences of my lifetime. Thank you for all they have taught me and brought me, more than they probably know or could understand. Thank you for the gift of continuing to enjoy them as they all grow and mature, and I will continue to offer special prayers for their increased spiritual growth.

Thank you for this home that you have provided for my wife and I, and for the opportunities that we have had over the years to improve and secure it for ourselves. Thank you for the enjoyment of our family and friends here, some as their home, some as regular visitors, some as infrequent guests. All as welcome today as they have ever been at any time previously.

Thank you for my education, particularly this year with the achievement of a life long goal to graduate from college. Thank you for the opportunities provided to me by the Philadelphia Police Department, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Saint Joseph’s University and all of the good people who manage those programs. And going back even further, to the people at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint John Neumann for providing the educational and spiritual foundation that inspired those later goals.

Thank you for the gift of health, and for a reasonable amount of financial security and prosperity in times that have been difficult for many others. Well aware of the difficult times that I have experienced in the past, both physically and materially, I will never take these particular blessings for granted, knowing full well that challenges may lie ahead in the coming years.

Thank you for continuing to inspire Americans within this great nation that was founded with and grew under your direct blessings. Thank you for the men and women who still remember your primary role in that founding, in our past, in our present, and in our future. Thank you for all of those who refuse to surrender to the efforts to turn our nation away from your path. Thank you for not turning away from America when so many Americans have turned away from you.

Thank you for another incredible season of sporting enjoyment from the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as for the gift of the game and for inspiring my own passion for it’s enjoyment over the years as both a spectator and a participant. Thank you for getting to experience the thrill of the Phillies winning two World Series titles in my lifetime, and watching them compete in three others. Bless their organization with continued success, and we fans with continued opportunities to enjoy their play.

Thank you for the gifts that you have given me to express myself, both verbally and in writing. These gifts have allowed me opportunities that would not have come along otherwise. Opportunities to serve my community as a police officer, and to serve police officers and others as a teacher. The opportunity to express my feelings on issues of importance here at my website. And now the opportunity to express your Word as a lector for my parish.

Thank you for the meal that I am going to enjoy with some of my family members this particular Thanksgiving Day. For the turkey and stuffing and vegetables and trimmings. For the warm, happy home in which we will enjoy that feast. For the people with whom we will share that meal. And thank you for all of the meals that I am privileged to share throughout the year with all of my loved ones at every opportunity.

Thank you, God. Thank you for my life and for the people in that life. For all of the family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, priests, teachers, service providers. My one prayer this Thanksgiving Day is that every one of them, particularly those who intentionally turn away from you, or who do not fully understand or accept the sacrifice of Christ, that their hearts and minds and souls may be opened to the full measure of your love, forgiveness, and grace.