Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the USA!
It’s nice to have one day of the year dedicated to thanksgiving with family. Likewise, I wish there was a Forgiving Day, a Peace and Harmony Day, and a Love and Hugs day. Maybe, some day.
We in India do not have a day dedicated to it. Some will say ah, that’s because we practice it every day. Well, ok, let’s leave it at that. But every year we do have a Thanksgiving day at our church. It’s called Harvest Festival. In rural India, people still bring the produce of their land to the church. In urban places, it is just a token name. People bring to their local church, gifts ranging from fruits and vegetables bought from the local market, to home linen, to kitchenware, to decorative items, toys, sarees, and potted plants. These are auctioned and the entire money goes to the church. It’s a fun event. Each family returns home feeling that they have given their portion for the service of God.
When my children were growing up, on one such occasion, I gave them a piece of paper each and asked them to write what they were thankful for. My younger one looked at me like, are you serious? Affirmative. He could not think of much to write. What with all the hymns, and the Bible readings and the sermon, all in a vernacular that he could not relate with, he soon began gnawing at my upper arm and shoulder, signalling that he was bored. He has since grown out of that habit.
In their teens I had put up a chart with four columns. One for each in our family. We were to write what we were thankful for, whenever we wanted to. It was in the dining area, so that everyone could read everybody else’s notes of thanksgiving. For several years, mine was the only column that had some content. We have now shifted to a sharing session at each one of our birthdays, where we express our thanks for what we have received in the past year.
Attitude of gratitude is good for spiritual, mental, and physical health.
I’ve had many moments of slipping into potential depression and was saved only because I recalled all the blessings that I have and the immense grace I have been given. My heart beat gets even, my aches fade away, and the day looks beautiful.
The most difficult thanksgiving that I’ve had to do was for the tough times and the seemingly difficult people in my life. I was carrying this burden about some people and some circumstances. It was toxic for me. On one Thanksgiving Day at the church, I knelt at the altar and prayed for the people who I thought caused me pain. I thought, they were not very different from me. They had their journeys, and their own ups and downs. They were working for themselves and their families, just like me. I thanked God for their lives and sought blessings for them and their families. I thanked God for the difficult times that I was in and the person I was going to be due to them. It was not easy. But I benefited from it. No, I did not win a jackpot the following week and there wasn’t any miraculous turn of events. But this happened – I was liberated from my burden. That was my miracle.
Thanksgiving is rejuvenating to the body and soul. So do whatever your thing is.