Abraham Lincoln gets credit for proclaiming, in 1863, the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Various sources claim the first Thanksgiving to be in 1619, 1621, or maybe even 1598. That is over four centuries of acknowledging and celebrating the good in life.
Meister Eckhart, a medieval German theologian, philosopher, and mystic, said, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Irving Berlin, an American composer of Jewish heritage, wrote over 1000 songs, including lyrics for the song, I Got the Sun in the Morning, written for the movie Annie Get Your Gun: “Got no checkbooks, got no banks. Still, I’d like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.”
During this holiday of COVID-19 interference, we need some historical reminders of simplicity. Times when people had so little yet the wherewithal to be grateful. America has lost much in 2020, but here we are, ready to celebrate thankfulness, even if we don’t get to enjoy the traditions with people we love.
If people counted their blessings several times a day, the world would have less violence, fewer bullies, more hopefulness, increased kindness, and improved acceptance of opposite points of view. Imagine how the power of gratefulness could impact lives.
On this day before Thanksgiving, you probably don’t have all you want or need, but you likely have an abundance of large and small things for which you are grateful.
I encourage you to make a “Thankful” list of at least 100+ items. There are no right or wrongs to your list; start writing and see what you get. It will bring your blessings to life.
To set an example, I steeped a cup of tea, grabbed a fuzzy wrap, and sat down with a pencil and paper. My completed list took less than 10 minutes. I started by listing family and friends, but those were a given, so I didn’t include them in my list numbered one to 100.
Some of the items surprised me, like logic, carpenters, and health insurance. The obvious ones include the American Flag, New York City, and kindness. It was fun to dedicate time and energy to many things I take for granted, like water, eyesight, and memories. As I look at my finished list, I realized some gratitudes were missing: the ability to walk, the love of getting things done, and quiet time.
Many of us will be alone or have smaller gatherings on Thanksgiving. Maybe the quieter day will provide time to reflect on what is missing and offer clues to our thankfulness.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and may your day include joy!
Closing with a Native American Saying: “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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