The Meaning of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day in America is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year – that’s today as we write this blog post – 28th November 2013.
It was on December 26th 1941 that President Franklin Roosevelt signed a joint resolution with Congress to establish this tradition and now days for most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends and spend precious time with loved ones
Looking back in time, it was the Pilgrims who celebrated the original Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 and that occasion was an entirely different matter.
Arriving in America in the 1620’s having sailed on the Mayflower from England to America, the brave passengers were ravaged by disease and the brutal New England winter when they arrived. Of the 100 Pilgrims, only half survived aboard the ship.
The original Thanksgiving of 1621 was a special time in American history, where thanks were abundantly expressed for the harvests and the fruits of their day.
Gratitude – Thanksgiving in Modern Times
We should each one of us be grateful for what we have right now today so take a moment to reflect on what it is that you are thankful for.
Looking back to Pilgrims and the start of the ‘thanksgiving‘ tradition we believe there are six things they would have been thankful for and they are as true today as they were then …
We are grateful that we have each other (we’ve been married 20 years this year but known each other for much longer. We have five adult children two of whom are married and a grandchild, Oliver who will celebrate his first birthday in just a few days. We also heard that we are about to become grandparents for a second time. Whilst we have both lost our fathers, our mothers are still alive and in relatively good health so we have a lot to be grateful for.
Friendships are like family the most precious of relationships. Some are short and some last a lifetime. We are grateful to all of the friendships we have made during our lives and the impact our friends have had on us both personally and professionally.
We are not churchgoers but we have a strong faith in the universe and believe that we are guides on our path day by day. What we give comes back in abundance and if that is ‘faith‘ then we have it in bucket loads.
Most of us and certainly in the Western World have a very precious freedom won for us by veterans all over the world and we should truly be grateful for that.
As we stood a the Lincoln Memorial and the spot where Martin Luther King stood 5o years ago just a few weeks ago in Washington DC we felt right there and then what freedom felt like.
Let’s give thanks and be grateful that we have not just freedom of speech but freedom to do what in some parts of the world would not be possible and where sometimes people have laid down their lives to protest their lack of freedom (just think not so long ago about the students in Tiananmen Square who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom)
Also freedom of choice – to choose a way of life that we want.
It’s all relative especially if we relate fortune to ‘riches‘. Because in a trivial way, we’re all rich. We’re materially rich by the standards of another age.
Louis XIV had Versailles, but we have hot running water, flush toilets and air conditioning. Charlemagne had servants to comb the lice out of his hair. We don’t have servants, but we do have shampoo and toothpaste…. Unlike the richest people of medieval Europe, we can eat oranges in the winter, ice cream in the summer, and chocolate whenever we please. The poorest of us can travel farther and in greater comfort than Louis could ever imagine …. it rather puts it in perspective we think.
Fortune, wealth, riches are all relative but can be realised.
Who knows what the future holds for us – all we know is that what we are doing now is our future. We read this just recently and it sums it up beautifully ….
“The Internet itself is a reason for great thanksgiving. It may seem cliché, but the fact remains that in no other time in the history of the world has it been easier to open your own business and change your circumstances.
For many the Internet is not a convenience, but rather the only way out of desperate circumstances”
As we conclude this post we think of how much we have to be thankful for, and no list would be complete without including you our reader
We are grateful of the opportunity of working for ourselves for the last 30 years, serving our clients in our traditional business. Now we are thankful for the opportunity of serving our readers, our subscribers and business partners. This is something we are truly thankful for.
That’s our list. We’re thankful for it all, and we want you to know that includes you as none of it would be possible without you.
Here’s some words from Les Brown that sums it all up beautifully
Give thanks today ~ even if your life is not what you want it to be. You may be facing financial hardships with no place to call your own, in the midst of serious health or relationships challenges, dealing with crazy children or relatives or overworked and underpaid.
When you look at your life, it may be hard to be thankful.
For others, this may have been your best year ever. You turned your life around, enjoyed success, created more love in your life and exceeded your personal best. Regardless of where you find yourself…in all things give thanks.
You still have another chance to turn things around, set things right; heal relationships, live full out, laugh and love more and stand in your GREATNESS!
Your presence creates possibility, promise and hope for the future”
We would like you now to take just a few minutes and make a list of your own. Then tell the people on that list that you are thankful for them today, while you can and while it’s fresh on your mind. That moment may never happen again and you should seize the opportunity.
Counting your blessings is not always easy as we don’t do it often enough so try starting with these simple questions.
* Do you live free today?
* Does someone love you today?
* Have you heard children’s laughter?
* Are you part of a family?
The more you think, the more you will realise that you are blessed indeed. Today is a day for being thankful and counting every blessing. Count your blessings today and every day not just once a year!
Share your thoughts and tell us what you are grateful for and what Thanksgiving means to you.