22/11/2017 23:33 PM
CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING DAY
Thanksgiving Day is an annual national public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and usually on the second Monday of October in Canada. The first Thanksgiving, Day which was originated and commemorated as an innocent harvest festival, was celebrated by the first Pilgrims after their first harvest of corn and other farm produce in the New World in October 1621. It must be clear that Thanksgiving Day is not only all about eating turkey, stuffing, corn bread, and cranberry sauce. It is not even about sitting on the living room couch or sofa and watching football games, drinking bear and chewing tobacco or smoking cigars. The actual name of the holiday conveys what the day is really supposed to be about. Given that our overly-scheduled and busy lives often make it difficult to spend a little time reflecting on simple pleasures, gratitude, and appreciating the blessings that we receive from the Almighty God. If we are thankful for what we have, we will end up having more. If we are not thankful for what we have got, we are likely to be not thankful for what we are going to have. We do not have to spoil the joy of what we have by craving and desiring for what we do not have. We have to remember that what we now have was once among the things we only hoped to have. We have to be thankful and appreciate for all the things that we have now and never should we take for granted all that we have in life. We are fortunate that we have much more than what we need to be content compared to those who have little or nothing at all. There is always, always something to be thankful for all the things that sustain us in our daily lives.
We need to cultivate the attitude and habit of being grateful to the Almighty God for every good thing that comes to us every day. We have to thank Him continuously because he gives us a gift of life every day. At the same time, we need to pray to God to bless and forgive us for all our wickedness and to guide us to interact with each other in peace and harmony because the planet we are living in has become a living hell on earth. We, as people of this world, are seriously in deep trouble. The world is really in great turmoil characterized by all forms of horrendous and heinous deadly crimes committed in schools, churches, theater, recreation parks, and busy streets and the horrible and dishonorable behaviors manifested by the scandalous nightmare of sexual misconduct and harassment in the entertainment business and the outright discrimination and inhumane prejudice in the workplaces and other public institutions. In addition, the senseless political drama, the violent social unrest, the agony of economic uncertainty, the explosive religious fanaticism, the volatile nuclear war threats, the annoying cyber fake news, the disappearing environment like a running away train, and the deteriorating basic moral principles and ethical practices in many countries and functions, have all created chaos and disorder in the world and horror and terror to human lives. The frequently occurring natural disasters compounded by the horrible hurricane and tornados, the devastating rain storms and flood, and the smothering fire and earthquakes, have all caused over-whelming material destructions and human losses. In general, the current unfriendly and disturbing world situation has gone far beyond all possible human control. Consequently, there is definitely an immediate and desperate need for a gracious and glorious divine intervention in this hostile environment of the world. It seems quite appropriate for all of us to visit our respective religious institutions (Church, Temple, Mosque, or Synagogue) on Thanksgiving Day early morning and pray to the same only one God for all for His grace and blessings so that we can be safe and protected from all types of evils and dangers to our lives.
Thanksgiving is simply the expression of gratitude and appreciation. Since life is too short to waste it in animosity, hostility, hatred and enmity, we need to be aware that there is ample opportunity to embrace and cuddle love, intimacy, and friendship among ourselves. We must also find time to stop and thank the people who have made our souls blossom and have lifted us up over the years and made a difference in our lives. No matter what accomplishments we make in our life, for sure somebody helped us along the way. Blessings can be the sweetest when they are won with prayer and worn with thanks. Appreciation can make a day, even can change a life, if there is the willingness to put it into kind words because no duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks to a deserving person. Saying thanks worth more than any precious material gift we may give to a kind person. Gratitude is the greatest virtue that brings peace for today and hope for tomorrow. It will be adequate enough, if the only prayer we can say every day to God is “Thank You” and that will definitely unlocks the door to the fullness of life by receiving the heavenly grace from God. Thus, there is no time more fitting than any moment to say ‘Thank You’ to the Almighty God and to those kind people who are usually hard to come by at any given time. We need to realize that the thankful receiver always bears a plentiful divine reward.
Thanksgiving Day is a time of togetherness, gratitude, and a blessed day to reconnect each other by embracing our diversity, We are kindly urged and encouraged to get together for a family reunion, at least with our immediate family members, friends and relatives to reflect and share love, friendship and fellowship on Thanksgiving Day. Obviously, we may celebrate Thanksgiving Day by partaking or enjoying the most delicious home cooked food and beverages. It is perfectly alright to gain a few pounds of weight around our waists on Thanksgiving Day feast. It will later give us an incentive to make us go to the gym and workout for just a couple of days in order to keep ourselves healthy and in good shape. Nevertheless, we need to celebrate Thanksgiving Day together as decent human beings with great honor, humility, dignity, and respect of each other.
Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin,
West Virginia University
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