My beloved teachers, students, parents and families of St John's Academy,
May the Lord bless you!
Please allow me to greet you on this day in which, in the United States, so many people take a moment to give thanks for all that God has brought to them in this life: family, friends, loved ones, as well as home, peace, country, and so many other rich blessings.
I hope that most of you are able to set some time aside today, and during this long weekend, in gratitude for the blessings of our Lord. Though the civil holiday of Thanksgiving is a day that has political, historical and social dimensions all its own, perhaps there is no other secular holiday that can so easily be transformed into a truly Orthodox day of commemoration and rejoicing. When we look at our lives, though they are often touched by grief, pain, struggle and even agony, at the same time we cannot help but see the profound mercy and love of God present in each day -- even in the midst of those struggles. And so we can give thanks to our God, for all that He has done, is doing, and we trust will continue to do for our salvation and redemption, until He comes again.
May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving. I leave you with the words of Metropolitan Tryphon, who composed a glorious Akafist Hymn of Thanksgiving, the opening refrain of which reads:
INXC, Archimandrite Irenei
(NB: The whole of the Akafist of Thanksgiving, in Praise of God's Creation can be found on-line here: http://www.monachos.net/content/liturgics/liturgical-texts/237-akathist-of-thanksgiving-in-praise-of-gods-creation )