Attitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving from Mockingbird!

Mockingbird / 11.23.22

It’s finally time. Time to dress up simply to go to the living room where the football game is playing and the folding table is set up for the infamous kid’s table. Time to stuff our faces full of sweet potato casserole with marshmallow fluff. There’s much to be thankful for, but our attitude of gratitude is one that flows directly from the grace of the gospel. All we have to do is pull up our chair at the big kid’s table and partake in the feast.

All that to say: here is a list of some our our favorite Thanksgiving-themed essays, comedy, and sermons from the archives for you to enjoy this weekend in between your mashed-potato-food-coma naps. The best of holidays to you and yours. We’ll be back in the saddle next week!

The Attitude of Gratitude:

David Zahl reflects on the psychology of midlife and gratitude: “Gratitude is the closest emotional approximation of happiness, but it might also be the closest emotional approximation of faith. Which may be why I’m having trouble getting into the spirit of Thanksgiving this year. I’ve lost my chief engine of gratitude, which is church, but kept my chief engine of self-pity and envy, which is social media. Mid-life malaise isn’t helping, either.”

The Science of Gratitude Won’t Make You Thankful. “While gratitude is in itself a good thing, turning it into the 11th Commandment does not usually yield lasting results.” via Sam Bush

Life-Preserving Gratitude and the Limits of Good Manners. “Gratitude is a natural response to salvation. It does not require coercion or encouragement; to the extent that the individual understands what has happened, gratitude will flow organically and abundantly from their heart.” via Law and Gospel A Theology for Sinners (and Saints)

When Grief Holds Hands With Gratitude: “In human relationships, the transforming presence of love is worth the inevitability of grief.” – Michael Gerson

Food, Faith, & Family:

Remnants of a Feast: “These stories are like remnants of a feast, the kind you don’t throw out after a week.” via Josh Retterer

Sam Bush reflects on food and family feuds: “Part of why family is so frustrating is that it reveals that we are not solitary beings with total agency over our lives. Try as we might to rebel against our genetic makeup and family history, we do not ultimately get to decide where we come from or who we are.”

Sarah Condon reflects on how easy it is to assign malice toward our family members. But what if we assign grace instead?

Paul Walker reflects on the broken Thanksgiving human family: “His forgiving grace will outlast any tradition and is stronger than any divorce, disease, death or estrangement.”

What Would You Eat If You Weren’t Afraid?, What would you allow yourself to indulge were it not for the consequences–bodily and ethical and otherwise? Were it not for your self-consciousness? (For us it would definitely be hot Cheetos)

Charlotte Donlon wants more Robert Farrar Capon and less Thanksgiving turkey: “Capon opened my senses up to food and life and faith and some of the connections that exist between the three.”

Black Friday & A Theology of Gift-Giving:

Automatic Gratuity: We all hate tipping, or at least feel awkward when the coffee shop’s iPad asks us how much we want to tip for the work of putting an overpriced chocolate croissant on a plate. But, “when used rightly, tips are given as an expression of gratitude. The essence of gratuity is not obligation, but appreciation. It is a return gift to the one who has given first.”

I Hate Presents. Nothing wrecks a gift faster than making a law of out of it.

How Not to Feel Guilty on Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday can easily make people feel resentful. If it does for you then feel free to take it off your calendar, put your wallet away, grab a refreshing drink, and think about “For God so loved the world that He gave.” That is the real gift.

Giving Tuesday Indulgences for Black Friday. There are many good reasons to give and by all means please do so. Mockingbird itself wouldn’t survive without it. But it’s also hard to ignore the likelihood that Tuesday donations are paying the price of Black Friday guilt.

10 Reasons Not to Support Mockingbird on Giving Tuesday. Spoiler Alert: it’s reverse psychology!


Thank God For Making Me Last, Sarah Condon

What? Me Worry? A Sermon for Thanksgiving, Paul Walker

The Eternal Wellspring of Gratitude, Paul Walker

Thanksgiving Is Reactive, RJ Heijmen

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