Thanksgiving is almost here! In just a few days we will be enjoying the special day. So I decided I would share my thoughts – about Thanksgiving, about giving thanks and gratitude.
We all know we celebrate Thanksgiving because of the help and kindness shown to the pilgrims by the Indians in the early years of our country. After a harsh and devastating winter followed by new season and a bountiful harvest, they came together to share, to celebrate and to give thanks.
Today, four hundred years later, not rising from a painful and deadly winter and life saving kindness from others as were the pilgrims, we celebrate Thanksgiving because it is tradition. We go through the motions of planning, inviting, preparing, and enjoying the day of Thanksgiving, offering thanks for friends and family gathered around the table and for the bountiful feast before us. It is a wonderful time of gathering together. It is also our opportunity to give our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to God who has provided us with many blessings and walked with each of us through painful and difficult times. We can easily get caught up in the activities and excitement of the holiday season and experience the day as just that – a holiday – and perhaps not clearly see it as a time to take stock of and give thanks for the privilege and abundance we enjoy in this country, and the personal blessings we each experience in our lives, all given through God's grace.
Expressing gratefulness to God for all that He does for us deepens our connection with Him and our maturity in our faith. As we grow spiritually, we begin to feel God’s daily presence in our lives in all that takes place. Along with the experience of Him with us, comes our gratitude in the true spiritual sense of the word. Living in this feeling of gratitude is an important and necessary part of our spiritual journey. It is a gift that enriches our lives in ways not known or understood until we are there.
I have learned as the years have passed that my life is always better; more peaceful and more manageable, more...satisfying when I remain grateful for all that life brings. Giving thanks not just on holidays or on days of worship, but on a daily basis, keeps me in a positive state of mind, focused on what really matters in life; my family, my friends, God's presence in my life and and growing and maturing in faith. The good times and bad, the up and downs in life are all a part of the journey and are experiences that refine our spirit, deepen our faith and bring us closer to God, our loving Father.
My plan for Thanksgiving is is to share my home, a great meal, and a day together with family and friends in God's presence, thanking Him for everything that life holds. I know that many of you will do the same. I wish you a Thanksgiving of heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all of God's blessings in your lives.
1 Chronicles 29:13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
M. Leslie Owens, MSW, LCSW
Psychotherapist - Christian Focus on Request