And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the nations, proclaim that his name is exalted.” —Isaiah 12:4

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. And it can be argued that we shouldn’t celebrate it. What are we celebrating, after all? A bunch of white guys taking over land that wasn’t theirs to claim? The forceful removal of Native Americans from their homes? It’s not exactly the happy co-existence of “pilgrims and Indians” that we depict in our school plays.

But “giving thanks” isn’t a uniquely American concept. During Mass on Thanksgiving morning, we were asked to write down something we’re thankful for and drop it in a communal basket. And of all the blessings I’ve received, and all the wonderful people in my life… the only thing I could think to write down was God. Because in His infinite patience, He’s allowed me to remain in this life long enough to finally turn to Him, and to stop relying on my own stubborn human nature.

This has been a year of change for me. I’m thankful, first and foremost, to God, for never giving up on me (especially in my most stubborn moments). I’m thankful for the people he’s put in my life over the years, who helped guide me through this journey. I’m thankful that I do live in a country where I can express that faith publicly, even if we don’t have the most pristine history.

I’m thankful that God had brought me this far, that on Thanksgiving Day, the first thing I think to be thankful for… is Him.