A Reason to Be Thankful at Thanksgivingprint friendly version
What Does Thanksgiving Mean to You?
These days, with a hectic schedule juggling work, family, and other responsibilities, it is quite easy to lose sight of what Thanksgiving is all about. Somehow, the thought of Thanksgiving Day approaching gives me this dreadful feeling - "Oh no, I've got to cook a turkey. I don't have time for this. I wonder, does Safeway provide fully cooked turkey dinners for a full house"?
It's not intentional - I mean, I have a great many things to be thankful for, and I do think about how grateful I am for my family, my health and my friends often, but for some reason I don't really think about it at Thanksgiving.
The onset of any holiday can easily become a stressful event. There's always the preparations, the guest list, decorations, baking... oh, and don't forget the house cleaning (that's a big one!). Holidays can start to feel like an obligation, and a draining one at that.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving can be traced back to ancient times when celebrations were held after harvesting to give thanks for the harvest. In North America, Thanksgiving Day is to commemorate the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people, marking the giving of thanks to God for harvest and health.
This was a very important time in history, and carries a strong and timeless message about sharing, overcoming differences, and celebrating what we have and who we are. So, why do we seem to forget such a profound message and what can we do to change our perspective of Thanksgiving in the 21st century?
Out of the Mouths of Babes
This past week, I had an experience that abruptly reminded me what Thanksgiving is all about. My 3-year old daughter who just started Junior Kindergarten this year, came home with a picture of a turkey that she had coloured at school. Printed on the turkey was the statement, "I am thankful for..." with a line beneath that contained her response. What I was expecting was something a child might say, maybe along the lines of "my new bike", "my teddy bear", "the pink cupcakes my Mom made for my birthday", but I was wrong, very wrong.
Her answer was: "MY LIFE."
Two very simple words that contain so much.
"My life" can mean the essence of who you are, your spirit, your talents, your friends, your family, your home, your hobbies, your health, your special treasures, your happiness, your struggles, your faith, learning, sharing, laughter, love, courage, hope, dreams, overcoming adversity, and the fact that you are alive. It contains everything about who you are.
So, there you have it. I am humbled and have rediscovered Thanksgiving from my 3-year old. And I can tell you, I'm not going to worry about my messy house, or even what we eat. I won't decorate out of any type of obligation, but only because I want to. This Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for my life... all that it is and all that I want it to be. It is the greatest reason, after all.
This Thanksgiving, be thankful for your life. You don't know just how lucky you are.
Show / Hide Reply2 Reader Comments
A Reason To Be Thankful
Posted By Elaine Belair on 12/3/2009 11:38:14 AM
Thanks for the lovely article Candace! It just lifted my spirit when I read about your little 3 year olds appreciation of LIFE. How easy it can be to get caught up in all of the externals only to find that you lack the energy to embrace the true meaning of lifes celebrations. As Christmas approaches, I am already planning to further simplify the external aspects and focus more exclusively on Spirit. It's amazing how often 'less is more'!
Posted By Paula on 4/21/2010 4:44:31 PM
I realize that it is now the middle of April but I just read your blog about Thanksgiving and was very moved by it's profound message. It is easy to take things for granted, to get caught up in the daily routines and responsiblities that we are faced with day after day. for so many of us this can be so overwhelming that we don't even see anything to be thankful for. Even though we use our traditions to remind us once a year to be thankful for our life, can you imagine how wonderful we would feel if we focused on that every day! A simple shift in attitude brings the strenght to carry on, to enjoy the little moments and take the time to celebrate the bigger ones.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and your honesty around Thanks giving. It has renewed my desire to live with an attitude of gratitude every single day! I love when children can awaken parts of us that we have let fall asleep.