Thanksgiving from a Spiritual Perspective
"Everybody can be great...because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." --Martin Luther King, Jr.
"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." --Aesop
- The Importance of Gratitude
We may not realize it, but being grateful leads to more things to be grateful for. Our gratitude is a form of giving. I believe that gratitude and love are part of the same equation.
The Deeper Meaning
We are all familiar with what the Thanksgiving dinner looks like on the dining room table: There is the turkey. Then there are all the side dishes that make the meal special, such as the mash potatoes and gravy, the stuffing, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and so on. Plus, we must not forget the desserts. That would be a disaster.
What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie!
But is Thanksgiving only about the food? Of course not! Many go to Thanksgiving dinners to celebrate it with friends and family. These might be the people that you haven’t seen in a long time, or they might be friends and relatives that you see every day. You could even celebrate the holiday by yourself. It does not matter. Now, what does the word “Thanksgiving” mean?
If we take the word “Thanksgiving” and break it up into two words, we have “thanks” and “giving.” Put simply, we are showing thanks by giving. Another word for “giving” is “sharing.” When we invite people over for a Thanksgiving meal, we are showing our appreciation by sharing a wonderful meal with them. We also give thanks by sharing our time with others. Our love that we share with others is what it is really about! However, a great many see Thanksgiving as an obligation.
“Oh no, we have to go there again. I’d rather eat a TV dinner than to spend time with those people!”
If a person feels that strong in not wanting to go, then maybe they should listen to their heart. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend time away from others. It is quite healthy to hang out with yourself. It is only a problem if that is all that you want to do. We, humans, need to connect with one another, but we also need time to recharge our batteries. Personally, I know that being in crowds too long drains me.
Now, let me get back to our word “Thanksgiving.” This part is very interesting:
When we are saying “thank you,” we are giving; and when we are giving, we are saying “thank you.” These two words are interchangeable. I think this is a very important concept to consider.
Being spiritual is about being aware.
The Magical Words
We can take these two words and apply them to our day to day lives. How wonderful it is to receive complements and kind thoughts from others! That wonderful thought that you were just told is a “thank you” and gift at the same time. When we appreciate the comment by saying “thank you,” we are also sharing a gift with the sender in the form of appreciation.
Sharing kind thoughts = Thank you = Gift; Thank you = Appreciation = Gift
The great things about complements, is that they do not cost us a thing. We are actually creating a gain for both parties! Yeah! We make the other person feel good by our kind words, while at the same time we feel good for making the other person feel good. On the other hand, viscous comments directed at someone create negative feelings in which both parties lose. This is definitely not fun.
I like the film “Evan Almighty” in which God, played by Morgan Freeman, explains to Evan about the word “ARK,” which stands for “Acts of Random Kindness.”
I truly believe that our acts of kindness, whether directed to ourselves or others, are powerful ways to transform our world. They don’t cost us much energy. They create a win-win situation for both people. It is a gift for both the sender and receiver.
What person does not like to receive a gift?
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