Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and it’s reminding me of all the things to be thankful for. There is so much focus in our family on the dinner, pies and getting together with family and friends. Even though I plan to make my traditional apple and pumpkin pie, I realize that tradition did not come directly from the Pilgrims and Native American allies.
The Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621. However, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow noted that the colony’s governor sent four men on a fowling mission. Wild turkey was plentiful in the region, as were ducks, geese and swans. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. But the holiday was not just focused on food.
The first Thanksgiving was a celebratory feast from the first successful corn harvest. It was all about provision. The Indians and Pilgrims could not make it rain to grow the crops, even with multiple rain dances and prayers. That was a direct blessing from above and they celebrated that blessing and bounty. Taking the time to celebrate and give thanks as we eat and gather reminds us that so much of life is not in our direct control. Taking time to note the little things that provide enjoyment, as the new blooms on a flower or fruit on a tree, helps to keep our eyes on a grateful heart. What are you thankful for?
Five things you and I can be thankful for:
ONE: Health. If you have your mind, and can move reasonably well, you have much to be thankful for. Look on any street corner for those who are suffering and begging for their daily needs and that will remind you.
TWO: Money. Even if you have very little, you have more riches than many people on Earth. Look up the wages in countries as the Philippines and you will soon realize what you truly have.
THREE: Friends. Your friends and close network should give you energy and inspiration. A good, trusted friend is of extreme value not only personally, but many times, professionally.
FOUR: Family. There are some who don’t have a close family or are dealing with high-maintenance relationships. If you do have a family that gets along, that is a gift and worth nurturing. That gift of family keeps giving throughout life, especially in the later years, with all it takes to live, then graduate to our heavenly home.
FIVE: Home. No matter how large or fancy, all it takes is looking at the tattered tents and cardboard containers where some homeless people reside to be extremely thankful for a roof over our heads.
I hope those five things help you focus on more than turkey, dressing and dessert this Thanksgiving. As an exercise, write those five words down on cards: Health, Money, Friends, Family and Home. Give those at your Thanksgiving table a chance to share an area in one of the categories where they are thankful. Of course, don’t miss celebrating all the good food and the enjoyment sharing a meal brings. In our home, we usually have dessert now and later, but I hope to focus even more on thankfulness and gratefulness this year as we celebrate the gifts that are undeserved and given freely. I hope you will too.