Give Thanks

Thanksgiving: The development of an attitude of gratitude for what you have been given

For those of you who follow us on Twitter, you may have seen our November 1st post, but if not I'll quote it here: "Start the month off right: make a list of 5 things you are thankful for today. Add 1 thing each day until Thanksgiving. Share your list."

In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it is often too easy to forget how blessed we are each and every day. At times, we are awakened to the reality of how much we had by tragic events such as Superstorm Sandy, a loss of a loved one, or a change in our economic circumstances. Other times, it is through seeing how these types of events affect others that brings our own blessings to the forefront of our thoughts.

This month, Thanksgiving seems to arrive with perfect timing. It is a holiday unique to American history alone. Yes, there are harvest celebrations in other countries, but I have yet to find one that rivals our Thanksgiving. That first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the Pilgrims' recovery from the tragedy of their first year here - only made possible by the kindness shown to them by the Native American people. It was a coming together people of different backgrounds, skill sets, and strengths to rebuild a community, though this alliance was sadly broken. The second Thanksgiving did not include a feast, it was a call to fast in light of a horrible drought that had struck the region. Thanksgiving 1789 was to celebrate the conclusion of the war of independence. It was only made an official holiday in 1863 and was held in honor of those suffering from the effects of the Civil War. Over and over again, there are themes of great pain and tragedy followed by the Thanksgiving celebration of either feasting or fasting, though in present times, there is certainly more feasting done than fasting. Volunteering and food drives have also become part of our modern celebrations - and with all our country has been through so far this month, this holiday again falls with perfect precision.

Our challenge to you is to honor this holiday in whatever way you feel is best: setting aside time each day this month to remember something you are grateful for about that day specifically, some random act of kindness, volunteering, donating towards relief efforts, holding a canned food drive, donating blood, fasting, prayer, helping at a homeless shelter or community center, giving back to the Native American community, writing a letter to a soldier who is currently protecting our freedom to celebrate in whatever way we choose, or using your specific abilities to help someone in need.

To get you started, we have compiled a list of things we are thankful for:
Carlos: My family, job, and car
Chad: Faith, family, and friends
Moses: The life that has been given to me, family, and friends. Also, Aaron's swag!
Adele: That the Lord has given me wisdom to help others and not just take chances
Bryan: Family, friends, faith, and freedom
Jose: Familia - my wife & kids, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends - I have bene blessed with a family, Thank God!
JB: A happy, healthy family and friends at work offering to help with college tuition for William
Allison: Family, friends, health, and a great job!
Jillian: I am thankful for all the amazing people God has placed in my life and the adventures he has placed before me.
Rachel: My son who lets me watch football with him, my daughter who shops with me, and when my husband makes dinner!
Michael: All the amazing people I work with...
Patrick: The air I breathe...
Norma: My wonderful husband and amazing kids!
Dan: I am thankful for my wife, Christa, who vowed to be my biggest fan on the day we were married and has never once let me down.
Aaron: A loving family, great job... and my swagg.
Heidi: Happy & healthy family and friends
Brian: Family and world peace
Josh: My amazing kids, close family, and friends
Bob: All of you!!!
Eric: God's favor, family, and our tree house!
Tod: A paycheck, great colleagues, and my own modern family.
Ken: My family and our health
Corina: I am thankful for wonderful family and friends, great food, and lots of laughter!
Deb: I am thankful for so many things, but on a daily basis, I am thankful for the close 'auntie' relationships I have with all of the special munchkins in my life, my family - especially my sister, genuine long lasting friendships, and lip gloss. Yes, lip gloss.
Bill: My family and friends, serenity, the opportunity to help another, and spirituality
Jeanette: Great friends who stick by you through thick and thin
Roman: My wonderful kids, awesome wife, and the fact that I get to watch the Cowboys every Thanksgiving!

For more information about the history of Thanksgiving, see: