is the week of one of my favorite holidays of all:
Thanksgiving. I think it's wonderful that our
country has put aside a day devoted to gratitude, to
being thankful for all that we have and all that we are.
And I love how people respond to the day, following
long-standing traditions and cooking a huge meal to
share with family members. It seems that the whole
day is spent doing things that are traditional to
families, from cooking special dishes to playing catch
outside to watching the football games on television to
playing around outside with the little ones.
Family members who haven't seen each other since
Christmas get together and catch up on each other's
the heart of the day, of course, is thankfulness, one of
the great keys to living a full life. Thankfulness
is one of our greatest allies if we want to live fully,
as a gracious person is a person who takes nothing for
granted. Everything that we have in our lives is
worthy of our thanks, from the material things that make
our lives easier (sometimes) to the people who help us
and encourage us and challenge us and our patience and
understanding. The buildings in which we're warm
on cold days and dry on the wet ones, the cars that get
us to where we're going, the possibilities for change
and growth and learning--we can be thankful for it all.
Problems arise in our lives when we lose our focus on
thankfulness and start taking things for granted, not
stopping to appreciate, if even for a second or two, the
wonderful blessing that something is to us.
are people who find Thanksgiving day to be challenging
and difficult. They're dealing with awful memories
associated with the day or with the feeling that they
personally don't have much to be thankful for.
the first group, I send out my hopes that one day
they'll be able to overcome those memories and move on.
For the second, I send out my hopes that they can shift
their perspective and see clearly all that they have to
be thankful for. We all have different lives, and
one person's little is another person's abundance, and
until we learn to accept where we are and be thankful
for all that's positive and right in our lives, then the
negatives will continue to rule us and our emotions.
I've never been wealthy, but there's also nothing
necessary to my life that I've had to do without.
Even during times of great want--financial and
emotional--I've always been able to see that there have
been many positives in my situation. For that
ability I'm extremely grateful, for I'm sure that at
times it's been all that's kept me going.
even if there are people who have a hard time dealing
with the day, that doesn't mean that my day should be
diminished. I still have much to be thankful for,
and I have people I want to share the day with. I
want to spend the day focusing on our blessings, keeping
in mind the fact that there are people out there who
need to be helped to see the beauty of and need for
gratitude. If I keep a thankful heart, I can pass
that feeling on to others, and I can help them to see
all that they have to be thankful for. And isn't
helping others what it's all about?
day is a marvelous day. And to me it's absolutely
no surprise that the day after Thanksgiving is the
biggest shopping day of the year--the day reminds us of
all that we have to be grateful for, and as human beings
our normal response to such a reminder is to try to
respond to those feelings of gratitude. May
Thanksgiving be strong in your minds and hearts this
year, and may that feeling stay with you each day of the