It has a different meaning to all of us. In the United States we are fortunate to have a national holiday set aside, specifically for the occasion. Originally an idea derived from Native and European tradition, the United States and Canada are the only countries where Thanksgiving is actually a holiday.
Despite the common belief that Thanksgiving was a celebratory event that followed “harvest” season, the origin is more accurately associated with survival – that is, having survived a long journey of storms, icebergs, and the tumultuous seas, which the seagoing explorers experienced attempting to find a northern passage through the Pacific Ocean.
Whatever brought upon the reason for the celebration from a historical standpoint should matter little to us today. What should matter most is that all of us – anyone living and breathing at this moment – has more than a few things to be thankful for today. Today and every day.
– According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are more than 12,000 disease categories known to science.
– On average, there are more than 6,000,000 auto accidents in the United States alone every year.
– The data is not in for 2011 yet, but there were more than 1,000,000 foreclosures in 2010. More than 1,000,000 families in just one year experience the loss of what is traditionally associated with as the symbol of the “American Dream.”
– There are 25,000,000+ unemployed in the U.S. as of this month.
– Almost 50,000,000 U.S. Citizens are recipients of Food Stamps.
– Nearly 500,000 people – men, women, and children living in the U.S. are living with HIV flowing in their blood stream.
You get the picture.
I walked out onto my balcony last night, when it was around 40 degrees, just outside of Dallas. I couldn’t help but wonder, “…this is what more than 5,000 people in the Dallas area will deal with tonight, until the sun comes up tomorrow morning and the temperature (hopefully) begins to rise.” It’s cold outside this time of year. I am privileged to be in inside.
More than likely, someone that you know – or maybe even you – is just one “notice” away from having their heat cut off. One or two weeks away from getting their “pink slip” at their job. Maybe your best friend won’t finish out the year, spending the holidays with their family because their on the brink of divorce. A cancer diagnosis can change the moral of a family in a split-second.
6 people boarded a plane this morning, not knowing that their last Thanksgiving with their family was a year ago today. They all perished when their plane hit the side of a mountain in Arizona.
Life is a vapor. Here today, and gone at any moment.
If you have use of your hands and feet; if you are able to get a full night’s sleep; if you receive income, whether weekly, bi monthly or monthly; if you enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with your family and friends today, or just one person; if you wake up every morning without having experienced a terrorist attack on your native soil; if you have a loved one who returned unharmed from War; if you had the privilege of turning on the water faucet today; if you’ve lived another day to love another person… be thankful.
Every second you feel the oxygen fill up your lung cavity is God’s way of nudging you…”You’re alive!”
With so much to be thankful for, there is so little to complain about.