Thanks on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition. We trace this custom back to our Pilgrim and Indian ancestors, and on this day we not only give thanks for what we have, but thanks for how far we have come.

For many of us, Thanksgiving is sort of an appetizer before Christmas, and we enjoy a lavish meal with family and friends. Some of us will watch sports on TV, with pants unbuttoned and eyes drooping from overindulging at the table. Some of us will do service of some kind, to mark their own thanks by helping out at the local food bank or shelter. Others will go to church and make their thanks there. Many will simply ignore the holiday altogether for reasons of their own.

Personally, I love it, and as each new Thanksgiving approaches, I think of all the wonderful get-togethers I’ve had throughout my life. Most were with family and friends, and some were with people who were not able to be home with their own families. This is when I lived in Texas, and I invited everyone I knew who was on their own for the holiday. It was a lot of fun, and it took the sting out of not being with our families.

These are just some of the things I am grateful for, today and always:

  • That my mom got to see her 84th birthday (11/23) and will see this Thanksgiving along with my dad
  • That I will be with the Crankee Yankee and have Thanksgiving with my step-daughter and her family (with granddaughter #2 due in April 2016!)
  • For my good friends
  • That I live in America with all its freedoms, hard-won by the sacrifice of so many
  • For the opportunity to share
  • For all the laughter, love, hope and joy I have in my life
  • That five months after I was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer, my recent mammogram showed no trace of cancer
  • That I am married to the love of my life, the Crankee Yankee
  • That we have four (yep, count ’em, FOUR) cats who live with us; Nala, our one female, Pookie, Plumpy-Nut and Tinker (our latest) — all males
  • That I have a strong and sturdy roof over my head
  • For a strong and healthy body
  • For a sharp mind
  • For a sense of humor and for all the many things that make me laugh
  • For sheer gratitude for all I’ve been given

Does anyone remember the traditional Thanksgiving hymn, “*We Gather Together?” It goes like this:

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!”

Whether you are spending Thanksgiving with family, friends or by yourself, may you know joy, gratitude, love, happiness, peace of mind, and may you enjoy your many blessings.

*”We Gather Together” is a Christian hymn of Dutch origin written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius as “Wilt heden nu treden” to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. It was originally set to a Dutch folk tune. In the United States, it is popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and is often sung at family meals and at religious services on that day.

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