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Reasons to Give Thanks


The first Thanksgiving in America, as I was told the story, was when the Pilgrims had a celebration with their indigenous neighbors. They thanked God for the fact they had survived so far and had a good harvest, thanks to the help of their neighbors.
That harvest was, no doubt, of foods they had never had before their arrival in America, like squash, corn, turkeys, etc. They experienced many other aspects of life that were different from what they were used to in Europe, also. How often might they have wished for things and ways of doing that they missed.
Many things are different here in the U.S. this Thanksgiving. There are more or less changes in the lives of everyone because of Sept. 11, and other factors in our society. Outside of the changes caused by outside events, have there been changes, major or minor, in your own home? Has someone in the family become seriously ill? Or have you all made a move to this place from somewhere else? Or decided you must move elsewhere? Has the job that supported your family disappeared?
How have such events and decisions effected and affected your family? How much does each one of you wish things were as they used to be; near people you know; with the security of the job that paid for what the family needs and gave you an established daily routine? What if mother, dad, dies from the illness?
With these or other possible experiences, even if they are good, long wished for changes, each family may be feeling sad, uncertain, angry. How does one give thanks when thinking about what your situation is and feeling so negative?
As the Pilgrims struggled with their new situation, they must have looked at the whole picture. The story I heard was that their neighbors, who had centuries of experience there, went to the Pilgrims and helped them learn how to farm. The Pilgrims also must have been open to meet new people who thought differently than they did. They also must have talked within their families and company about their feelings and encouraged one another to look for the positive aspects of their situation. Because they recognized they had the basic requirements of humans; shelter, food, clothing, and human support, they decided it was appropriate to give thanks to God for their blessings.
Examine the whole of your family’s situation at this moment. Aside from the negative, what positive aspects are there? Even the negative can be viewed as positive, if one can see how they stretch one as a person. Each one may have greater strength of character, knowledge, realization of unused capabilities than before the late big change in your lives.

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