Giving Thanks....you would think it to be a simple, easy task. However, each year I find myself wondering if our society has let the initial meaning of this national day of reflection fall into merely a "figure-head" of a holiday.
I know what you're thinking - given the opportunity, we could let ourselves get thoroughly depressed over the assumption that Thanksgiving has become just another day to get out of work or school. Hardly - as usual, I'm choosing to look at the brighter side of a holiday that carries a much deeper feeling.
What I have noticed is this: even though we get sucked into the mega-marketing schemes that bombard us via every form of media there is; even though we still take advantage of every sale opportunity the holiday brings; even though some of us fret when we're called to work part or all of the holiday; even though we get fed up with the early Christmas decorations and music (way before Thanksgiving even arrives!); even though we balk at getting out in the ever-increasing traffic around the grocery stores and malls; even though we stress over airport delays or making travel arrangements to visit family; even though we worry about fitting everyone we've invited to dinner around the perfectly-set table; having enough food, and serving "exactly" the perfect recipes; even though most of us have felt one or all of these emotions at Thanksgiving (at some point in our lives), we each - in our own way - continue to gather together to give thanks for the many blessings we tend to take for granted during a good portion of the year.
It's not the turkey that matters - the pumpkin pie, great table, big house, or who's on the "guest list." It's the effort we make to gather those that we love, and as family - or in community -recognize all that has been given to us while striving to share that bounty with others.
The definition of bounty, according to the Webster dictionary reads: 1) something that is given generously 2) liberality in giving, generosity 3) yield - especially of crop.
Some of us might assume that "bounty" means that someone has a "lot." Has a lot of money - has a large home, has power, wealth or prestige. On the contrary - it is the sharing of what we already possess.
My youngest son made a very profound statement at the dinner table tonight. He said "I think we shouldn't think about money, or bills, or things we have to buy tomorrow. I think for Thanksgiving we just need to enjoy being with the rest of the family again - and have fun."
That's a profound statement from a teenager. (yes, I'm very proud of him!) He's right....with our country's people currently experiencing so many different types of pain, heartbreak and sadness, it would be very easy to just have dinner and "get it over with." But my son is right - each of us has something or someone to be truly thankful for this Thanksgiving.
I may not have the biggest house on the block, my husband may not have the easiest or highest-paying job, my kids may not have designer clothes or cars without any issues, we may be delaying eye or dental appointments, we can't afford to really help our parents the way that we dream of.....but, I'm truly grateful. We love each other dearly and worship together as a family, we are surrounded by family and friends who love us, and in this great country, we still enjoy the freedom to do (or not do) all of the above.
As you continue your family traditions on Thanksgiving, may you recognize and cherish the bounty you already possess - may you find your glass half-full - and in your special way, offer it up with a grateful heart.
May God bless each of you and your loved ones on Thanksgiving, and every day. Thank you for stopping by and sharing my Joy -
Pay it forward - spread a smile!
(photo courtesy of Google images.)