Why Give Thanks?

Thanksgiving has crept upon us again. Seems like we cruise along and suddenly it is holiday time. Thanksgiving and Christmas tumble into our lives like puppies wrestling, tumbling down the stairs. Thanksgiving is like practice for Christmas, but it deserves its own spotlight.

Gratitude is becoming less and less visible in our world, and that’s too bad. We have come to look to ourselves as our own providers, our own saviors, our own trailblazers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every success we have depends on the efforts of others, mostly strangers, whose lives overlap and intersect with ours. Sometimes their impact is obvious, but not usually. More and more often we receive our gifts and hardly acknowledge them because we’re grappling for more, more, more, never having said thank you for what we already received. I believe as gratitude goes, so goes love.

Big deal, you say? Yes. Big deal, because gratitude is a grand reminder that we’re not that great, not that important, not that autonomous. Whether we like it or not, we need each other. Stopping to think about that, particularly around a table full of delicious food, is not only wonderful, but also quintessential to our psychological wellbeing. Giving thanks is a way to humble ourselves and to finally look around at those who have lifted us up.

These days there’s far too much emphasis on tearing down. I think you can agree that building UP is better. And don’t forget about subtlety. There are people who give you rich blessings that you never know about, folks. That’s right. Some people prefer not to have the spotlight, but we are there.

Imagine someone looking at you with gratefulness, remembering how you loved them, carried them, helped them stand after a fall. So receiving gratitude is also a very good thing. This is what, I believe, the Bible means by ‘love one another’. How much do you appreciate that steadying hand when you are falling? See what I mean. Which actually is better, giving or receiving? I hardly know.

So it goes both ways, gratitude. Not a single day goes by without thanksgiving my my life, beginning with prayer, but also thinking about how much I appreciate my friends who are there for me, people who offer to help me carry heavy things, the mechanic who changes the oil in my car, clients who never fail to brighten my day, the people who deliver my packages, and on and on. Make a list? You’ll never get to the end, I promise.

So this Thanksgiving, in spite of how crazy the world tries to be, look around you, see your blessings, and remember to say THANK YOU. Those words are disappearing from our landscape too. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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