Thanksgiving is a form of gratitude, not the shallow thanks that we caught more green lights on our drive across town, but the heartfelt gratitude that we feel toward people who have helped us in a time of need or unexpected blessings that didn’t have to come our way, but did. When we are grateful, it has the effect of loosening the binds on our hearts. Whether we’ve suffered from injustice, frustration, embarrassment, loss, disappointment or other hurts, thankfulness creates a warmth that can melt away bad feelings, and this is what leads to forgiveness. If we are ever to experience peace in our world, peace in our homes, or peace in our lives, it will begin with gratitude.
And yet Thanksgiving is also about possibility. When the Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving it was in celebration of the gifts they received to survive the winter. They understood their scarcity and were grateful for the unexpected blessings that would sustain them. Most people I know are not operating from a place of such scarcity. Which begs the question, what to do with our gifts? I don’t think our goodness is judged by the things we give up, forfeit, sacrifice, or go without. Our goodness is judged by our actions, the things we create, and the people we include.
Let’s reach out ever further and find new ways to share our gifts.