Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Every Day
by Emily VanLaeys

Painting by Peter van Laeys

               On Thanksgiving Day we are reminded that we have many blessings for which to be grateful – just in case we aren’t naturally grateful every other day of the year!  Some people, however, have started to refer to this holiday as “Turkey Day,” as if eating turkey is the main reason for celebration. 

               I have shared Thanksgiving dinner with one family who says “Happy Turkey Day” when they see you  on the fourth Thursday of November. Nobody offered grace before our dinner, and nobody even talked about what they were grateful for.

                That is one sad extreme on the gratefulness scale; an extreme that has become all too common in today’s society. The other extreme – the one that I heartily advocate – is to offer thanks every day. Whether you offer a prayer of thanks to the Creator of all things, or thank another person for something done for or given to you, or write a list of everything you’re grateful for that day, being in a state of gratefulness is a spiritual blessing that enriches your life and the lives of others.

                We have all lived through times when we have felt there was nothing at all to be grateful for. Whenever I have gone through a period of depression I have forced myself to record at least one good thing that happened to me each day. Gradually I would find more things to be grateful for and my lists would grow.

                 Keeping a gratefulness journal forces you to look for blessings in your life. If you have a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat, you can write that down. If a friend calls, or an e-mail comes from a loved one, put that on your list. If you’re unemployed, you can be thankful for those things you haven’t lost. No matter what the circumstances, you can be thankful for the beauty of nature:  the stars overhead, the squirrels leaping from one treetop to another; the birdsong that wakes you up – whatever you experience from where you are.

                Then you can be thankful for the blessings that are yet to come. Some may ask: “How can I be grateful for something that hasn’t happened? What if it doesn’t? I’ll feel pretty silly!” True: if I said, “Thank you for the free trip to Hawaii that I’m about to get,” it would probably not happen. After all, I don’t really believe it will, and I have no idea how it could. Maybe someone with advanced powers of manifestation could make it happen, but I’m not advanced. On the other hand, I can say: “Thank you for the good health my family and I will enjoy this winter,” and feel truly thankful.  I have every reason to believe that we WILL be healthy, and no reason to think otherwise as long as I don’t give in to fear.  Giving thanks for that which you are ABOUT to receive is a demonstration of faith that the source of all abundance provides for your needs. Jesus often told people that it was their faith that made them well. The combination of faith and gratefulness is a very powerful method of prayer.

                I am also grateful for the wonderful things that are going to happen in the coming year, even though I don’t know what they will be. So many people are recognizing the light within themselves and sharing it with the world – positive results are bound to come!  And I am planting seeds each day in meditation, studying and writing about spiritual things, and sharing ideas with other spiritual seekers.

               I feel the divine light growing within; I feel my love for life growing each day; and so I know that good things will be showing up in the outer world, too.

                If you think you can’t be thankful for something that hasn’t happened yet, plant some daffodil bulbs and give thanks for the beauty they will gift you with in the spring. Then look for ways to plant  seeds of love in someone’s life and in your own. Gratefulness will swell up in your heart as you watch and wonder what the seeds will grow to be!

1 comment:

  1. "What a wonderful reminder to realize the true meaning of Thanksgiving and share our abundance with one another. I also loved the painting so full of light and color!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Debbie G.