The first American Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, when the pilgrims, thankful for their bountiful harvest in the new land and their Indian friends, gathered together to praise God and to express their gratitude. Since then, Thanksgiving has traditionally been a day to celebrate all the things for which we are grateful. One day, out of three hundred sixty-five days in a year, when many families sit around their dining room tables, hold hands and tell, one at a time, what they’re grateful for. Which is wonderful but. . . .
What about the other three hundred sixty-four days? We’re all busy living our lives; we can easily get so caught up in work, writing and/or other responsibilities that we take things and people for granted. We forget to stop to appreciate all that we have and to be thankful for our many blessings. We need to remember that each day is a gift, a present.
Do we get up in the morning, thankful to be alive? Are we determined to make the most of each day or do we slog through life, bitter and complaining? Do we notice all the little things that go wrong in our day or do we focus on the ones that go right? There’s so much beauty in the world. Do we take time to appreciate and enjoy nature? Do we tell the important people in our lives how much they mean to us? Do we stop to give thanks (and credit) to others who encourage and support us?
I think of gratitude as an attitude we should strive to possess and express every day, not just on Thanksgiving. In our complicated world, often, the simplest words can have the greatest meaning. The following lines, from a poem I learned as a child, sum it up. “Thank you for the world so sweet. Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything.”