For some, the upcoming long weekend will be about the indulgences of the harvest table. Others will enjoy their friends, family and watching or maybe even playing in the Turkey Day football games. Here are three reasons to make time for thanksgiving during this national holiday weekend.
1. Only gratitude can curb our own worst impulses of discontentment and dissatisfaction. You will never be successful or wealthy enough. It is human nature to always want more. “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27). This applies to the rich, poor and everyone in between. A close friend of the English author Samuel Johnson recalled him saying, “Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.” Think about the people you enjoy most. I bet you they make a practice of giving thanks.
2. Giving thanks encourages you to identify priorities. Gratitude starts with the discipline of remembering. If your warmest memories of the year were spent with family, have you made time for them? Who else are you thankful for? Have you shared these feelings of gratitude? If you are like most of our readers, you have very little free time necessary for reflection. You hurry from one scheduled event to the next with little time for review. Make time to write down at least ten people, experiences or things that you are thankful for and you’ll be off to a good start for creating life priorities.
3. What’s the downside? While world religions disagree on major tenets of doctrine, giving thanks is not one of them. The only negative thanksgiving prayers I can consider are those that begin with, “Lord, thank you that you have not made me like those people . . . ” These thoughts are merely boasting in the disguise of gratitude. Heartfelt gratitude is a universally esteemed virtue.
Enjoy the holiday. Eat, drink and give thanks. If you are unsure of where to begin, considering starting with this prayer penned by Shakespeare in “King Henry VI, Part II”:
O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!