Pumpkin-flavored drinks and breads, turkeys, football, Pilgrims, Native Americans and colorful leaves are standard diet and décor this time of year. Not sure which of these appeal to you, but this is the season of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, but has also become a final day to take a deep breath before the starting gun is fired for the Christmas sprint.
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is often traced to a poorly documented celebration at Plymouth, MA in 1621. There’s a lot of debate about who was present and what kind of religious significance this holiday really has. However, we are more certain that Thanksgiving was first proclaimed a holiday by President Abraham Lincoln as a way to foster unity between the northern and southern states after the Civil War. It was then standardized in 1941 through an act of Congress under President Franklin D. Roosevelt so all states would celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
Regardless of its roots and traditions, it’s a good thing to take one full day a year to reflect on our blessings and to give thanks for all the many things we frequently take for granted. Maybe our goal this Thanksgiving season would be to find ways to be develop patterns of expressing gratitude the other 364 days each year.
I heard someone say, “What if God only gave you today, the things you expressed thankfulness for yesterday?” Honestly, would you be satisfied with what you still have today? That thought might be startling to some.
Do you stop each day to give thanks to God and for God and His blessings? Do you thank Him for your health? How about your wealth (yes, even if you make just $35,000/year, you are in the top .73% of the world and if your household income is $100,000/year you are in the top .08% of the world)? Even in difficult times, there is always something to be thankful for if you pause to look around you.
I’ve had the privilege of traveling and rubbing shoulders with every-day folks in some of the most impoverished regions of the world: Haiti, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc. In those places of extreme poverty, I have found some of the most grateful, generous, joyful and happy people. Gratitude is a choice. It’s an attitude that can be cultivated when we are intentional.
Take some time to reflect. What are you thankful for today? What new habits of gratitude do you want to develop in your life? What is one step you can take today toward a more grateful lifestyle and attitude?
QUESTION: What is the one thing you are most thankful for today? Please share it in the comment section below.