Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
~~Henry Ward Beecher
Thanksgiving has always been a solemn (yet joyful) holiday to me. Everyone dressed in their “Sunday Best”…family from far & near gathered around a table loaded with the most delicious food, served on the best dishes in the house… commemorating our collective historic past as Americans who survived the trials of settling the new world, pioneering the new frontier, and creating a whole new way of life.
Of course, Thanksgiving represented the family’s survival of another year of trials, tribulations, and embarrassing moments that become family stories to be shared at holiday get-togethers. One year, my cousins, my brothers, & I put together a talent show to entertain the adults. We didn’t see each other often, so we always made our visits memorable!
Even though it’s not a “religious” holiday, Thanksgiving has always been a little sacred in my life. It was profound enough to bring family together, despite their differences. The stories of people of different backgrounds sharing their resources, skills, and trust inspired me to see the world around me in the same way. It was an echo of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream, which I also held as sacred.
Gratitude is the basis of the tradition of Thanksgiving. That may seem to go without saying, but consider it again. Gratitude. Being thankful for the abundance provided in life~~through nature, through our relationships, through the grace of the God of our understanding~~these were the reasons for the legendary First Thanksgiving.
Of course, we’ve all been instructed that the story of the First Thanksgiving is a fiction concocted to conceal from impressionable young minds the brutal realities faced by the early settlers of the Colonies. Even so, the story established an ideal of what it means to be “American.” Americans value community, share, and are thankful. Americans can learn from others, even those who are different from themselves. These simple lessons resound in the 21st Century.
In what ways do you see gratitude, community, sharing, and cooperation in the world around you?
In what ways do you practice these principles in your life?
How do these principles inform your life as you enter the season of Giving?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section, or post a link to your blog about it!