As we all feverishly prepare for Thanksgiving, we find ourselves using words like thankful, and grateful. These words roll out of our mouths with such ease, you would think we use them daily. Thanksgiving is a time of family and friends, great food, fond memories, and the beginning of one of the biggest holiday seasons.
Although many different nationalities celebrate Thanksgivings, almost every nationally celebrates a holiday around the Christmas Holiday. Christians of course celebrate Christmas, some refer to it as Saint Nicholas Day or Three Kings day. Mexicans have the beautiful Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Swedish have St Lucia Day, Jewish have Hanukkah, they celebrate Boxing Day in Australia. Canada, England and Ireland. African American celebrate Kwanzaa, Japanese celebrate Omisoka, and Pagan (Wiccan) celebrate Yule Time. All these are magnificent holidays to celebrate, with their own true meanings.
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving and Christmas were two distinct separate holidays, each holding their own beauty, yet blending one into the other. On Thanksgiving Day all the businesses were closed, allowing that special family time. Perhaps having Thanksgiving right before other Holidays, made us all very thankful for what we had, and less wanting of what we did not. Allowing us to all be a little more giving. Carrying that gratefulness throughout the year.
Today however, we have black Friday, now starting on Thanksgiving Thursday in many stores. Businesses are open as usual. I am very fortunate to work in a business that is closed for Thanksgivings Day. Things have changed. Being thankful on Thanksgivings day is extremely important, however once the turkey has been carved, pies sliced, and rolls buttered, we are often out to get that big bargain, that special gift, or even just something for ourselves. Our new Thanksgiving ritual. Missing the true meaning of Thanksgiving dinner, and far from the stories we heard as children of pilgrims in 1621, breaking bread with Native Americans, thankful for friendship, making it through a hard year, celebrating a bountiful harvest, and learning new ways.
Soon that grateful, thankful feeling on Thanksgiving Day, bleeds away into the holiday bills, and other adverse things in our life, or around the world. Once again, we find ourselves focusing more on the negative, less on the positive.
Having a grateful heart and being thankful for all we have in our lives is not something that we should do one day a year. When we are grateful, we are filled with peace, joy, and harmony. Having a grateful heart, we focus on the positive and see things in a different light. We feel life has a meaning, a purpose, and that we can overcome all obstacles that come our way.
We can each look back and see the struggles in our lives. There were times that we perhaps felt we had little to be grateful for. However, it is those low times in our lives, the valleys that teach far more than the good times do. Making it through those times, is the core of what teaches us gratefulness. A grateful heart is the beginning of greatness. It is the foundation for the development of such virtues as faith, courage, happiness, love, well-being, and prayer. When you are grateful you see new doors open. If we had not lived through our struggles, we would not have the many blessings we do now. It is in those hard times that we become closer to God, to our Creator.
So, this year on Thanksgiving Day make a list of all that you are grateful for, every blessing bestowed upon you. Also include those valleys, those hard times, those obstacles, the struggles. When you begin to see those struggles in a different way. When we see that we can be thankful for them, we begin to see them as blessings, not struggles.
We all bring our own light to the world. Sharing our struggles and being truly thankful for them is one way we can make our light shine brighter. I am grateful for my struggles, that my faith in God helped me to overcome those struggles. Those struggles helped me to become better, stronger, and helped me have a grateful heart every day, not just on Thanksgivings. I encourage you to do the same this Thanksgiving Day. Being grateful for everything, good and bad, truly living with an attitude of thankfulness will lead you to peace in your heart and mind.
And really isn’t that what truly matters?
Enjoy your Thanksgiving’s Feast, Family, Fun, and Faith…..
Love to all my Family and Friends,