The Spirit of Thanksgiving and the Importance of Giving Thanks
As children, some of the first words our parents teach us are thank you. They create a sense of value and appreciation for all that we are blessed with. Thank you is more than an expression of gratitude, it’s a value system that focuses on recognizing the great things that we have- from the smallest to the greatest. Whether it’s the small gift your wife gave you, the letter your son wrote, or the email that just says “thanks” … these small blessings are among the many reasons we have to celebrate.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that allows us to reflect and celebrate all the things for which we are grateful. It allows us to flex our muscles of gratitude and show all of our friends, family, and community what really matters in life.
Thanksgiving is also an annual opportunity to say Thank You to God and count our blessings.
As Psalm 92 tells us, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD . . . to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.”
For Jewish people, Thanksgiving Day follows the biblical Festival of Sukkot (also known as the Festival of Booths or Tabernacles). This eight-day celebration always occurs in the fall and draws its inspiration from Leviticus 23:33–34. Like Thanksgiving, Sukkot is an opportunity for people to reflect on their harvest and offer thanks to God for His benevolence.
These two holidays, Thanksgiving and Sukkot, are also a time of humility. Why? By saying “Thank you” we acknowledge that our blessings come from a source greater than ourselves. The joy in saying thanks comes from a recognition of our dependence on God.
In Good Times and in Tough Times
It’s never a challenge to offer thanks to anyone, or God, when things are going well. When we feel that life is good, then saying Thank You is simple. The challenge is when times are tough. Are we strong enough to recognize small miracles and moments of blessing, when times are challenging?
Making Thanksgiving Meaningful
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, find opportunities to express thanks to all those around you. Can you seek new moments to praise and offer gratitude to your network? Share your gratitude with them! Not only for their actions but just being who they are and the important role they play in your life.
You may be wondering, “How do I do that?”
We can give thanks during challenging times because the tough times are meant to expand our ability of belief and faith. Challenges are not a punishment but an opportunity to see the truly important things in life.
Thanksgiving—the word of thanks and the mindset—is bolstered by our recognition and confidence that all of the blessings we receive are Divinely inspired.
May your Thanksgiving be a holiday that empowers you to reflect on the many blessings that you’ve received.