For many of my readers the Thanksgiving Holiday means nothing and to tell you the truth I’m not sure what it means anymore, beyond the overstuffed bellies from overcooked turkey and a day off to fight against and compete with ravenous crowds looking for a deal at Wal-Mart, or its simply a day away from the daily drudgery that is most of our lives.
For those around the world thanksgiving holidays are generally a celebration of harvest, of the bounteous fairs from mother earth. A few are religious in nature but all have succumbed to the ravages of modern cultural relativisms, the United States is no different, having mostly lost the initial meaning of why we celebrate and why we devote a single day to giving thanks.
There must be things that each of us is grateful, small things perhaps, a little smile from a child, or a adoring touch by a loved one. This holiday, regardless of where you’re from should be more than epicurean gluttony and sporting events; more than waiting in long lines for bargain shoppers. The ability to give thanks in itself is being lost during the very time we should be devoting our thoughts and actions toward magnanimous endeavors.
Like so many others I am having some difficulty in defining gratitude. Complaining is so much easier and garners the sympathy, if only for a short time, of others while creating a bubble of indifference between your personal problems and the not so obvious opportunities that surround us all. Like the air we breathe, we are inundated with beauty and bounty of greatness all around us. Blindness and stubbornness causes an impaired inadequacy to see what is mostly right in front of our eyes. All we have to do is open our eyes (even with open eyes we fail to see).
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost. Count your many blessing; count them one by one and it will surprise what the Lord has done….”
This truly is a challenge in our day. We are inundated by negativity, passiveness and an overall deleterious demeanor, making the good and beautiful hard to see. One by one, one at a time is all it takes to change that negativity to opportunity and gratitude, a thanksgiving for what we have. Difficult as it is the rewards are endless.
Wherever you maybe, whatever your countries customs the cultural attitudes that created the thanksgiving festivals can be recreated. If not nationally, individually, the benefits of giving thanks can be accomplished one person at a time. Open our hearts and our minds to the possibilities of gratitude, start with the one, list it as a blessing and others will follow, filling your life with the reality of the gifts of life so abundant that you will not be able to count them all.