What It Means To Be Generous and Grateful
What Does Thanksgiving Mean to You?
For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around a grand feast - which harkens back to the ancient pagans who celebrated the end of the harvest season with lots of good food and toasts to their ancestors/gods. But it's also a time to reflect on what we have and be thankful for the good things in our life.
And on the first Thanksgiving ever recorded on U.S. soil, it was also a time for two cultures to come together in peace, appreciate each had to offer the other, and enjoy celebrating both their differences and similarities while preparing for the cold winter to come.
And that's a part of the Thanksgiving spirit we seem to have lost with our modern society's obsession with racism and xenophobia.
Only for Americans?
Thanksgiving is a particularly American holiday - it summons up images of a roasted turkey, heaping plates of steaming food, cheering over the football game, and old fashioned depictions of Natives and Pilgrims. Other cultures of course may have their own version of a harvest festival or Thanksgiving, but here in the States, the associated imagery and meaning is well cemented.
It is a time for being thankful for what we have today, and for being grateful to the people in our lives. Without them, we wouldn't have anything, and that's why it's important to not only acknowledge your own family and friends during this holiday, but also all the people within it's borders that make life easy for us. I'm talking about those who work in the service industry, always ready with a smile even when they don't feel like it. I'm talking about the people in local office, who listen to their communities about it's needs and wants. I'm referring to those rare gem police officers who don't abuse their power and genuinely want to help people and keep the streets safe. And of course, I also mean everyone who's ever come to this great nation and given it a piece of themselves and their culture - because that's what has made America the beautiful melting pot that it is.
What is your favorite aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday?
Spread the Glow
Right now, there is an influx of immigrants and refugees coming to the States, in search of a better life for their families or fleeing persecution, violence, and death at the hands of violent criminals. These people left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their children. These are educated people who held respectable jobs in their home country, children and teens who are now missing school and who's peers may still be trapped in a war-torn nation...or worse.
These people have next to nothing and it is my wish that we give them something to be thankful for in the form of open arms and safety. In curiosity and acceptance of their culture, language, and a long line of generational traditions. That we learn from these people as much as we share with them. America is still a melting pot and every tradition that is added to the pot only makes it stronger and more flavorful.
So, I ask all of you, this holiday season, to spread the glow of gratefulness and generosity. To be kind and inclusive to people who are struggling. To seek understanding and sharing with those different from us.
The first American thanksgiving brought, however temporarily, two VERY different groups of people together. And maybe this time around, we don't have to follow in the footsteps of history past and can create some new traditions together.