When I was in second grade we had a Thanksgiving pageant at school. I remember dressing up as Pilgrims and Indians and performing a mini play exemplifying what it must have been like when the Pilgrims and Indians came together for that first Thanksgiving meal. At the end we got to enjoy a “lavish” turkey feast! For years after that, all I associated Thanksgiving with was Pilgrims, Indians, and eating a whole lot of food!
While that may be the historical setting behind Thanksgiving, I believe Thanksgiving still remains an American tradition for reasons much bigger than two groups of people finding a compromise and breaking bread over peace. That same set of events has been taking place in various forms for thousands of years. I mean think about it, haven’t you ever shared dinner with a former “enemy” after finding compromise in a deal or common ground in a relationship? This happens way too often to be the reason this beloved American holiday is still celebrated religiously by all.
I think its the mindset and heart strings behind Thanksgiving that has kept Thanksgiving integrated into our culture. Taking a day to reflect on what were thankful for and enter into a season of giving is what I think really brings us joy about this holiday. Sure the huge, delicious meal and day off work help, but I think in each of us we like the idea of remembering all we’ve been blessed with while being surrounded by friends and family.
In this fast paced environment we now live in though, I don’t think we actually take the minute, hour, or entire Thanksgiving Day to really reflect on what we are blessed with. I think we have fallen in love with the idea of this, but that we don’t take the time to really look around and count our blessings. Simply put… We’re too busy!
As part of one of the most privileged countries in America, we have more blessings than sometimes we’re aware of. During my last trip to Kenya I had the opportunity to pray with one of our CARE for AIDS’ clients. When asking how I could pray she said these words that I will never forget, ” Mam, just pray that I can afford to Tithe. I want to be able to give to the Lord what He asks.”
Forever I am impacted by those words and the realization of how truly blessed I am. Something I take for granted, and even complain about at times, is the sole desire of a sweet Kenyan woman’s heart.
I believe God blesses us purely so that we may honor him by blessing others. So this Thanksgiving I hope you’ll join me in taking a minute, or maybe even an hour, and really reflect on all we’re blessed with and how or where God has positioned us to bless others by those blessings.