The Meaning of Thanksgiving
Tucked between two big holidays of Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving receives far less attention. However, Thanksgiving is truly a special day. It was first celebrated in 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians shared a fall harvest. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be held each year in November.
When we think of Thanksgiving we think of leaves changing color and falling from trees. We also think of spending time with family and friends, watching the Macy’s Day Parade, or perhaps the traditional football games. Our memories also remind us of sitting down at the table to enjoy a special feast of turkey with all of the holiday trimmings, topping it off with pumpkin pies, apple pies and mince meat pies.
Thanksgiving Day is more than a day of fond memories, parades, football, and special dinners. It is also a day of thanks. On this day we are reminded of the abundance of treasures that are a part of our lives. We spend a few moments before dinner to give thanks for the richness of our lives and for our wonderful family and friends. For many people, however, the meaning of Thanksgiving ends with the few moments of giving thanks at the dinner table.
The true meaning of Thanksgiving should not end after a prayer or a few moments of reflection devoted to thanks. The Holiday of Thanksgiving has a broader meaning; it is also a call to action. The word thanksgiving is composed of two words: thanks and giving. We are reminded to give thanks and to share and give. We should also be willing to share our economic and material wealth, as well as our time and talents with other people who could use our help.
This Thanksgiving Day take a few minutes to think about what actions you can take in the next year to fully express the meaning of Thanksgiving. Come up with ways to free-up your time, even if it’s just an hour each week so that you can give that time to someone in need. What would you do during that time?
When you sit at the dinner table this Thanksgiving, spend a few moments giving thanks but also share with your family and friends what actions you will take in the next year to fully express the meaning of Thanksgiving. Then, on Thanksgiving Day 2013, as you sit down for dinner you will have a true meaning of the abundance of your life.
Happy Thanksgiving To You and Your Family
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