The Holidays Are Here!
Christmas lights are up around town, Santa is at the mall, holiday music sounds, and the newspaper is fat with holiday sales. Thanksgiving heralds the holiday season. There is no doubt, this time of year has its positives and negatives, and its ups and downs.
Thanksgiving, this Thursday, is one of America’s favorite holidays. It’s non-religious, non-sectarian, and doesn’t involve any gift giving. This is a recipe for success! It’s a feast from start to finish. There is ample room (not in your stomach, that’s for sure) for families to establish their own rituals. What to eat, when to serve this grand meal, the right proportion of main dishes to desserts, and what to do while digesting. And for many, it is followed by taking Friday off and either hitting the malls for big deals or spending time with family and friends.
I always like to take time during our big day to consider the real meaning of this holiday. It’s not about how much stuffing you can eat or how many desserts you can sample. It’s about taking time to count our blessings, whatever they may be. It’s about gratitude and humility. The original settlers of our country survived because of the native peoples, who saw that they needed help. Despite the vast differences between the Native Americans and the settlers, the Indians provided help. Indeed, our ability to survive and thrive is largely based on our interdependence with each other. We need each other.
My mother grew up during the Great Depression. Her family was very poor. Frequently, she and her siblings were sent to live with more fortunate relatives. At other times, neighbors would give her family leftovers—a pot of soup, vegetables, or chicken. They had to move frequently because they couldn’t pay the rent. My grandfather was unable to provide for his family and fell into a deep depression. My grandmother kept the family together. Like the colonists, my family managed because they were resourceful and through the help of others.
Part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition is to have each participant share what they feel thankful for this last year. Whatever challenges or burdens we have, there is always room for gratitude. This year I have so much to feel thankful for! I am very fortunate.
But I know that there are many who have heavy burdens this Thanksgiving. Financial problems, health concerns, family stress, and loss can make this holiday sad. Just because it is the end of November, doesn’t mean that all is good.
This is a great time to celebrate our interdependence by reaching out to your less fortunate neighbors. There are so many ways to help others. A kind word, a card, or a telephone call can mean a great deal to a friend, relative, or neighbor who is having a hard time. Anything that you can contribute is appreciated.
We are all in the same boat in this life, and at times, it can get pretty leaky. Sometimes it’s your turn to bail out the water, and sometimes it’s my turn. Have a joyful Thanksgiving.
What are your thankful for this year?