Amid the burgeoning wedding industry that innovates how couples marry, one mainstay perdures: the father-daughter dance. As guests watch them move elegantly to a selected song, the bride and her dad exchange words, smiles, laughs, and often tears. Eavesdropping is never possible, though many wonder and might project at the presumed beauty of the conversation.
On this Thanksgiving Day, it is easy to conjure the daughter thanking her dad for the life he helped provide, the wedding day he may have helped finance, and the legacy he and her mom have created for her children to someday enjoy. One mother of the bride once reported about her daughter's wedding and how beautiful it was; however, the highlight was not the beauty of her daughter in her dress, the prayerful nuptial mass, or the festive party that followed. This mother recounted, with deep joy and appreciation, how at the wedding reception, towards the end of the night, the bride and groom summoned her parents to a corner of the venue. The mom and dad were nervous, worried a serious problem emerged. No, the newlyweds offered a simple sentence, "Mom and Dad, we just wanted to say, 'Thank you for this great day.'"
The mother was overwhelmed that amid the activity, fun, guests to visit, and dancing to be enjoyed, their daughter and new son-in-law took the time, with solid deliberation, to thank her and her husband. "That's what made the party so rich," she said.
A favorite image that Jesus used in the gospels for heaven was a wedding banquet. Yes, there is love, fine wine, dancing, good food, and memories to be made. But, at the heart of every banquet is a thanksgiving. Simple words like "Thank you" that make us remember how loved we are and how the Spirit of the living God feeds us abundantly.
Like at the Eucharist and Thanksgiving dinner.
St. Francis de Sales once said, "Nothing is small in the service of God." Not even the two small words we pray today: Thank you.