Thanksgiving break – for most of us, it can’t get here quickly enough. The stress of final projects, long research papers and final exams is enough to make anyone excited for that moment when it’s finally time to peel out of the FMU parking lot.
A break from reality is great but what is the real reason for a Thanksgiving holiday?
Sure, we’re all looking forward to the turkey, dressing and pies for days, but maybe eating copious amounts of food isn’t the real meaning. Maybe it’s pouring over sales fliers for hours and standing in line for even more hours on black Friday to catch a great deal, right?
It’s probably safe to say that many people may not understand why Thanksgiving is celebrated; has the true meaning of the holiday been lost and is it even important anymore?
History tells us that the holiday was first celebrated in 1621 as a day of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest during the previous year. It was a day to give thanks to the Lord for getting them safely through the year.
Our lives in 21st century America are quite the contrast to those of the Pilgrims of 1621. We probably haven’t sailed to an unknown land, foraged for our daily meals or made peace with a different people group to protect our respective villages.
Even with the stress of school and other life struggles, we all have something to be grateful for. Even the person that believes their life is complete and utter chaos can find something to the thankful for if they think about it.
National holidays, by in large, are meant to encourage reflection. Independence Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and even Pearl Harbor Day cause us to think about our past, reflect upon current situation and ponder the future.
Jerry Large of the Seattle Times wrote in a 2011 column, “This day to give thanks was born amid one of the country’s bleakest trials. An attitude of gratitude is most needed when the feeling is most difficult to come by, and it might help us out today. True gratitude requires a sense of humility, recognition that none of us thrives alone. But humility is frequently in conflict with the American devotion to individualism.”
If we always want more, we will never have enough and we will never be content. Even in your darkest hour, an attitude of thankfulness, not selfishness, will always get you further. Perhaps we should place more value on a day of being grateful for what we have instead of pining for more. It could lead to contentment – a crazy thought for sure.
Throwing down on seven types of pie and hitting the stores for some great deals isn’t necessarily a bad thing but let’s try to step back for a few hours, enjoy our relationships and reflect on what we have to be thankful for.