This week those of us in the U.S. celebrate the most iconic of American holidays-Thanksgiving. This is the time of year we gather the extended family, demolish an overindulgent meal, and either play games or snooze in front of the TV (or both.) Sometimes in all the hoopla to find the perfect bird, craft the most elaborate centerpiece, or out-do the relatives we may see only once a year in baking homemade treats, it is easy to forget the real meaning of both the name and the holiday itself.
What is Thanksgiving? The name comes from an event that brought two groups of peoples of different colors and extremely different cultures together in a joint meal that celebrated the most basic of all needs-food, companionship, and freedom. That we continue to commemorate this event almost 400 years later shows that we still honor both their sacrifices and their choices in choosing to live life as their consciences dictated.
Thanksgiving as a word is simply being grateful for everything and everyone we have in our lives. Many of us are blessed with more than enough food, homes, material possessions, and choices for what we do with our lives. We have family members, friends, and neighbors with whom we can share a meal or at least a phone call or Skype chat this week. For many of us the excess is something we sometimes take for granted; but Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to remember, and appreciate all we truly have.
I urge you to take time to be thankful and share with others of your time and your abundance. Help those in need through donations to a church or a local charity, or by volunteering at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Give of yourself this week. Above all, cherish the time and opportunity to spend with the loved ones in your life.
Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!