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25th Nov 2015

Thanksgiving as a Proclamation of Hope

In the USA, Thanksgiving is a holiday that stems from a communal dinner between the first settlers in the New World, the Pilgrims, and the Native Americans who helped them survive their bitter winter in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The Pilgrims were radical Christians, a sect of Puritans, whose lives were filled with an austere understanding of the Bible. Yet, they managed to set aside a day of Thanksgiving, celebration and joy to share with the natives who had befriended them. Without the help of the Native Americans, who the Pilgrims considered to be heathens (as they were not Christians) it is doubtful that as many Pilgrims – or any of them – would have survived.

If the USA has a national holiday that can be considered to be spiritual or even religious, it is Thanksgiving, a communal holiday that is one of tolerance, even brotherly love for fellow citizens, and thanksgiving.

The act of giving thanks to The Divine is not only filled with appreciation, but with implied hope. Giving thanks means there is someone to give thanks to – there has to be some recipient for the appreciation – or what’s the point? Gratitude infers a blessing, a gift that was beyond one’s own sphere of power or influence.

Thus the act of thanksgiving includes a present hope for continued blessings, help, gifts or providential coincidences from their source. Giving thanks is a way of acknowledging our own limits, an act of true humility and respect, which simultaneously acknowledging our own worthiness for the receipt of the blessing, kindness, gift, etc. If a person were not worty to receive the blessing and give thanks then they could not actually “have” it – and we have all known instances of people (possibly ourselves?) who has received something wonderful, a lottery or scholarship winner, a special talent or opportunity, a gift of health or friendship, who subsequently blew it by their own behavior.

So thanksgiving is not only an acknowledgement to the source of our good fortune, but it is also an expression of our hope in our own worthiness to continue in that fortune and to benefit our selves and others by it.

“In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” – Isaiah 12:4

Wherever you are, in the USA or elsewhere, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. See more. Live inspired.

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