Thanksgiving Day Musing: Three common Thanksgiving elements

First all, may the readers of this article be found to have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day. My thoughts this year are focused on how we celebrate Thanksgiving. It was interesting that currently there are three elements to most Thanksgiving celebrations: Family, Food, and Football. Granted each of those areas have variances but I want to examine each element a little further and close with some thoughts on gratitude.

In terms of thinking of the Holiday, the starting point has to be the element of family. We all are born into a family. These are not people we chose to be with but we love knowing full well their imperfections. Some of the family members we love are folks that we spend time with only on Holiday occasions. They are important to us but not an active part of our lives. We all appreciate being loved and enjoy the relationships around us, even if at sometimes we really cannot stand the actions and choices of family members. Holidays are a time where we get together in love, it is not always easy, but loving each other is important. Taking time to think about how you value your family members is of great benefit, even better if you are able to communicate those thoughts. Now, not all of who we consider as family because so because of our birth. Some folks we consider family are family by choice. Clearly spouses fall into this category but there are friends that fit as well. For those that have entered the Kingdom of God, there is the greater family of the Church as well. Ultimately family is those that we love for good or bad. We do not always agree or even always demonstrate that love, but our families are where the dynamics of love, or sadly at times lack of love is played out.

The other element that is common to all during this Holiday is food. Usually it is the staple meal of Turkey and assorted fixings, but there are some differences there. The element of food and eating together is really about fellowship and celebration. The meal on this day is one that constitutes a feast. We take time to gather and show gratitude and enjoy the company of one another. We take to share a meal and engage in the intimacy of a mutual meal. There is something special about such activity and is something to be enjoyed. In the United States, we have had plenty and the Thanksgiving feasts really celebrate the many blessings. Even as times get tougher or darker, it still is good to celebrate and focus on the good that has transpired.

The last element I want to share thoughts on is that of Football. Now granted not everybody enjoys football. Not everybody even attends to football games. But outside the Super Bowl it is the one day of year where non-football fans tolerate the games. When reflecting on what football represents it comes down to simple relaxation. Something that helps takes mind off of any trouble, sit back and disengage while it is on, and relax. More often than not the Tryptophan in Turkey takes effect and people simply fall asleep. In general any form of entertainment serves to function to bring pleasure, relaxation, and serve as distraction. The same holds true in the American culture with American Football being an apex of entertainment.

Now this day where we love, celebrate, and relax is centered on the concept of giving gratitude. Sadly, gratitude is often easily set aside and the difficulties and sufferings of life attended. Yet, it is important for each of us to be able to express gratitude and be able to be thankful. Now for those not in the Kingdom of God, it is hard for me to understand what direction the gratitude is directed. Certainly can be directed to those that you love, but without relationship and connection or even belief in the Creator of the Universe, it seems gratitude is limited. That a Holiday such as Thanksgiving is limited to that which has benefited self and our own little kingdoms is sad. The most precious thing to me is that fact that I have a relationship with the creator and He cared enough for me to provide a way to reconcile the barriers to such a relationship through Jesus. I love and enjoy time with family, miss those that I do not get to spend time with on such days, but my gratitude is always directed to the most Holy God. Gratitude in and of itself is beneficial but without connection to the true source it is limited and fleeting.