Happy Thanksgiving Day! Today is the ultimate “Thank you Thursday“, isn’t it?

The noun – the holiday – commemorates the feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621 after the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest. In 1789, George Washington issued the first proclamation urging Americans to express gratitude for the successful end to the war of independence. In 1862, at the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln established the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday of thanksgiving.

In more recent times, the holiday has come to mean family, food & football; not necessarily in that order!  The noun – the day – is a time for gathering with loved ones, enjoying a bounteous meal, and watching football. Many people will also watch or attend Thanksgiving Day parades, go to a movie or (and I hate to say this) get a jump on Black Friday shopping (don’t do it!)

The verb – thanksgiving – means an act of expressing gratitude without wanting or expecting anything in return. We are not trading thanks, we are giving thanks. If we look at the definition of each word…

give: [giv], verb (used with object), gave, given, giving. Meaning, to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow

thanks: [thangk], noun. Meaning, usually, thanks. a grateful feeling or acknowledgment of a benefit, favor, or the like, expressed by words or otherwise

…we can re-state thanksgiving – the verb – this way: voluntarily expressing a grateful feeling.

Even if you are in the midst of turmoil, there are still opportunities to be thankful. Be fully present to those people, events or feelings that bring a smile to your heart. Take a moment today to focus on and express that gratitude.  Troubles will remain, but perhaps giving attention t0 the good among the bad and giving thanks accordingly will draw your heart and mind to a better place today.

As we formally kick-off the holiday season today, I pray the peace of your seasonal observance wraps itself warmly around you with love.