The word “Thanksgiving” resonates with me on so many levels. I love this word.
I suppose most people in the United States equate the word “Thanksgiving” with the fourth Thursday in November when families and friends come together to consume a holiday feast. However, harvest festivals are celebrated around the world, some using the title “Thanksgiving”, other countries using a different term. But as harvest festivals go, as an American, I am most familiar with the borrowed Bavarian beer festival of Oktoberfest and the fall harvest food celebration of Thanksgiving.
There are many traditions associated with the Thanksgiving holiday.
Since it is a feast, most Thanksgiving traditions are food-related. In my family, pie is the star of the show. Pumpkin, cherry, apple, chocolate, pecan…. My mouth waters just thinking of the choices that abound.
For many people, Thanksgiving is spent in front of the television, watching everything from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to a LOT of football.
Games, cards, and conversation are also an important part of the gathering together of friends and family. I always enjoy those years when we are lucky enough to have a boost in the temperature so we can go outside and play a game of croquet or bocce. However, if the weather isn’t hospitable, I always enjoy a game of rummy or just the opportunity to converse with far away relatives whom I rarely see.
A hallmark of a traditional Thanksgiving is a literal “giving of thanks” to God. Historically, this prayer of gratitude was to specifically acknowledge the blessing that had been bestowed in the form of a bountiful harvest. Today, it is common to express an expansive prayer of gratitude encompassing anything from the food itself to the people present and the blessings bestowed on each individual’s life. For me, it’s a time to reflect on all of God’s blessings, great and small—from the giant sequoia tree to the dainty ladybug.
- I am grateful for the beautiful butterfly, the mighty oak tree, and the sun that shines on my face.
- I am thankful for my health and my six senses.
- I am indebted that the necessities of my life are met and blessings are bestowed abundantly.
- I am appreciative for my service to others and the service others provide to me.
- I am glad for all of the relationships that touch my life and help me grow.
We are so very grateful and give thanks for you today—wherever you are—and wish you a very bountiful harvest festival.