Time to be grateful. Time to gorge on turkey and stuffing and pie. Time to alternately love and totally resent your family. Time to prepare for visits and visitors, to come up with menus or excuses, to expect the best or brace for the worst. It’s Thanksgiving!!
I really wanted to write about this national holiday without sounding too trite or too Pollyanna-ish. I mean, what has NOT been said about gratitude, about “turkey day,” and all the rest. And while it does sound too chirpy, perhaps, there is a lot to love about Thanksgiving, and I love it a lot! I like the food, and I appreciate that there is a lot of giving going on in communities, and that it is a day off for many. But, I really love it for the gratitude part. I love that Thanksgiving is a day that is intended to celebrate our thankfulness for our forefathers, and for what we have on our plate now, so to speak. It may even go so far as to remind us to be thankful every day. I mean, it feels good to be grateful on a continual basis, while it may not feel good to be stuffed on stuffing every day of the year, despite how satisfying it may be on those special occasions.
Gratitude really can make every day a holiday, a holy day, a day resplendent with a cornucopia of blessings. Gratitude is that conscious pause which sees and appreciates the good that is present, rather than being tempted (as we so often are) to focus on the troubles that would arise and want to mesmerize us and blind us to the good at hand. Actively giving thanks—mentally or verbally—can switch on a light and it can also open wide a door.
Try this: First, consciously express your gratitude for those good things, people, etc., in your life. And then, take it further. Make your awareness a catalyst for new riches. Actively take stock of not only the good things that you see, but those spiritual qualities and ideals and ideas that you may not see, but which most certainly exist here and now. The presence of Truth and Love and intelligence and humor. The beauty of that which is expressed and that which awaits human expression, but is rich and ready to flow free, at God’s appointed time. Recognize the fullness of promises that beckon.
The willingness to consciously be grateful for the unseen majesty of good, as well as to realize and be grateful for that which tomorrow can bring—opportunity, inspiration, healing, love, laughter, freedom achieved and goodness shared—is that open door to accepting into our experience what is here eager to bless and what waits tenderly for tomorrow to kiss us awake.
Thanksgiving, at its best, can’t be confined to one day, either in practice or in thought. It embraces the past, the present, and the future. It encompasses the seen and the unseen and the yet to be seen. It is a holiday tradition in the United States, but it should really become a way of daily life to us everywhere.
You may still be enjoying the thoroughly enjoyable sense of Thanksgiving as family and food and football, and there’s nothing wrong with that! There is certainly a lot of inherent gratitude in that enjoyment, whether we are consciously expressing thanks or not. But, perhaps just take a pause—it doesn’t take long, believe it or not, to reflect on infinite good (although you may find you want to linger there a while)—and try the Thanksgiving approach that is grateful for grand things, and before the fact. Jesus certainly had a lot of success with that method. He thanked God before Lazarus came out of the tomb. He knew what to expect from God, Life, and he wasn’t disappointed when his friend emerged alive.
So, why not give it a whirl. You probably have some time between helpings, or at half-time, or before Black Friday descends. You could just possibly witness a resurrection and still get that second piece of pie!