A Reminder to Give Thanks
Everywhere I go, the holiday spirit is in the air. The stores have started decorating, the radios have been playing holiday music (admittedly, I’ve been listening), but the holidays are over a month away! Thanksgiving is the next major holiday, but the focus already seems to be on Christmas. If you’ve been looking for a reminder, here it is: don’t forget about Thanksgiving.
Obviously, the holidays are an exciting time of year for everyone. Whatever you celebrate, it’s a time of festivities, family, and, at least in my family, lots of fabulous food. However, Thanksgiving is sometimes lost in the midst of all the buzz. Once Halloween is over, it’s as if a trigger has been set off in retailer’s minds to advertise Christmas. Hanukkah is unusually early this year, beginning at sunset the night before Thanksgiving, but Christmas and Kwanzaa are still over a month away.
As Courtney stated recently in a post about the true meaning of the holiday, it is essential that the meaning of Thanksgiving doesn’t fall between the cracks. While the United States is the only country that celebrates it, the message behind it is one that should be acknowledged worldwide: do not take anything in life for granted. From the most privileged of households to those struggling to survive, we all still have one thing. The gift of life is enormous, but those of us in the more fortunate homes need to continue to reach out to those who do not have as much. The name of the holiday suggests giving thanks, but it also includes the word “giving” to remind us that time is a gift. Doing something selflessly for another is powerful for not only the volunteer, but also the receiver. Pay it forward.
The next time you walk into the mall in November and see trees, ornaments, or menorahs, it’s okay to be excited about the celebrations that await. In spite of this, remain mindful of the more immediate future of Thanksgiving. To lose the meaning of the season is to forget why it exists in the first place. Without knowing where it came from, it is impossible for a culture to grow.