What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Holiday time or Holy-Day time? Each holiday season, I wonder what time people are really celebrating. Christmas becomes X-Mass, holy-days become holidays, days of remembrance become good days to host a backyard barbecue and Thanksgiving becomes the springboard to “the shopping season.” The big kickoff being “Black Friday.” Where is our soul? Where is the spirit in our natures? Is time off meant to be simply another day to watch the “big game.” Are holy-days meant to be spent shopping? Is Black Friday now the most important day of the year? Is Santa Claus a Good Christian because he gives toys to tots? Was that Jesus Christ’s message, to spend Christmas roasting chestnuts round an open fire singing Jingle Bell Rock?

Please note, it is not my intention to sound like the Grinch or to “cast stones” at sinners. We all need time to relax and we all need time for fun and games. However, when do we say enough? What about the meaning of the time that we are granted. Do we simply see our time off as a holiday or do we embrace this gift as a time to remember our dead, our veterans, our special leaders and those they helped pave the way for the lives we can live today. These “holidays” we are given each year, whether in remembrance of a religious or civic event should not pass by without our taking the time to remember what their true meaning is.

Thanksgiving is meant as a time to remember the blessings that we are all given. Regardless of how much or how little we all have, there is generally something we can be grateful for in our lives. I have so much but I am continually looking at people that are more successful, make more money, have more friends and are in better condition. Yet once I pause for just a few seconds to reflect on my blessings, I realize that I have the greatest wife in the world and I am healthy and moderately well off. I have six happy and wonderful grandchildren. I have more friends than I have time to spend with. In short, I have nothing to complain about. I have nothing to be selfish or greedy or jealous about. I have been blessed with a wonderful life and I hardly ever stop to say “thank you God for what you have given me.” I am usually too worried about what I have not been given.

This Thanksgiving, will you take the time to say a prayer of thanks, will you ask all present to thank God or whomever or whatever you believe in for the gifts and the life you are living? This year, I will ask all present at my Thanksgiving table to take a minute to express what they are thankful for in their lives; then we will dive in on the turkey, stuffing, and dressing. The true meaning of Thanksgiving lies in being grateful for what you have. Do you know a prayer of thanks? What is your favorite prayer?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 02:30:34

    I reflected more this year about what I am grateful for, and my list is very similar to yours (except that I don't have any grandchildren yet). But, on the general theme of your blog, time, I was thinking today about how much holidays and other planned events structure my experience of time and my use of time. I look forward to and plan for a “special” event or day and then the next. When the special day comes I take “time off” from the ordinary schedule. I get through the circle of the year, but wind up remembering only a few special events. The holy day thus becomes an empty day, one empty of typical activities, and yet we treat the non-holy days, full of ordinary busyness, as mere stage setting for the “important” days. If we were perfect, I suppose we would appreciate the importance of every day, all our time, and be grateful for all of it. God reportedly pays attention to the fall of every sparrow, but we seem forced by our finite natures to spend our time and attention selectively. Every culture I know of features this distinction between holy days and ordinary ones. Perhaps “important” or “sacred” are inherently relative concepts, recognizable only by what they contrast with. Everything cannot be special, some things, some times, must be treated as ordinary.



  2. John Persico
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 18:20:31

    HI Bruce, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. I like the thought that while you say every culture makes a distinction between holidays and common days, it makes more sense to appreciate the importance of every day. Kind of like the idea of an un-birthday party.



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