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The Many Sides of Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day, people are overindulged with the turkey. Supermarkets compete with their Ads for fresh, frozen or cooked turkey. A friend tells us she serves the best roasted turkey in town. The other says. “No, I cook the best golden roasted turkey complete with all the trimmings.” Mothers make plans for the Thanksgiving dinner menu and prepare all things needed for hosting the gathering of families and friends.

However, there are two groups of people who celebrate the occasion – those who host the party and those who are just invited to attend. Blessed are those who host them and lucky are those who are guests. But, of course, there’s a third group who eat out at restaurants to celebrate. Nothing wrong with it. They are just private people who enjoy quiet family celebrations. Sans fuss nor ado. Practical lang sila.

Dinner time, the table is laden with a huge roasted golden turkey with all the trimmings surrounding the large platter – cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans with crispy onions, yams, macaroni salad, apple pie, rolls, roasted corns, etc. The lace table cloth is adorned with crystal candelabra with long-stemmed lighted candles, looking very festive. The champagne and wine glasses glistened as the hosts offer a toast with the guest after the Thanksgiving prayers are said, “Bless us o Lord for these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Then, all thank the Lord for this gathering of families and friends. 

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

As we get older, mature and wiser, we realize that giving thanks is more than just a one-day event, in fact, it is a lifelong attitude. We are grateful for so many blessings that we received, but gratitude goes beyond giving thanks. As we consider everything for which we are thankful for, we go deeper realizing that we practice being grateful in all circumstances. How many times have we said “Thank you” on an ordinary day? Numerous! Examples: When my husband brewed coffee for me; a UPS guy delivered a package by our door; a reminder call from my Dr.’s office re appointment the next day; I received an envelope from my son with a couple of checks with a note, “For your lunch or dinner out with Dad;” the bagger at a supermarket ran after me to give me the credit card that I left on the counter; and many more other big and small circumstances. This one is big: I was charged $385.00 as a 10% late fee for my real estate tax assessment. I explained that due to taking care of my husband who was ailing with “shingles,” I missed mailing my check on time. I was so thankful to the supervisor for writing it off.

Indeed, Thanksgiving is a time to honor our grateful living. Therefore, we should not only be focused on the food that we receive, the roof on our heads, our success and accomplishments and other material things that we receive, but we also tap into the wellspring of gratitude for the things that we experience which are not seen, but those intrinsic things that are felt like kindness, being compassionate, finding delight in little things, feeling kind rather than right, appreciation of others, even for pets. With gratitude, we also remember those who are not with us today and those who have gone before us, most certainly hold a place in our hearts.

An attitude of gratitude is by itself a blessing to be thankful for. But sometimes, because of our busyness in daily life, we tend to be thankful only for the big and significant things that happened and that we received. If this is the case, pasalamat tayo at may Thanksgiving Day celebration every year. For us who migrated to America, we are just happy to have embraced this cultural heritage of this country as we look forward to gathering our families and friends to celebrate the occasion with heartfelt hospitality.

Gratitude Beyond Thanksgiving

Sometime last year, I remember hearing these words from a religious channel in the TV, that as we consider everything for which we are thankful, we then go deeper in thoughts bringing to mind people, situations, experiences that we are not joyful about. And, as gratitude goes beyond giving thanks, we get into profound understanding of making a mental shift, reevaluating them in the path of divine wisdom.

Admittedly, I found this hard to follow as I believe I’ve lived my life with authenticity and integrity with a layman’s choices I made. In essence, this is asking for raising our gratitude quotient and be naturally graceful in all circumstances – good or bad, pleasant or distasteful, acceptable or hateful. It must be real hard to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for situations or cases that are unpleasant, bad or unacceptable. It is a hard push and challenging to handle. But, as years went by, I found myself surrounded with numerous inspirational reading materials and prayer books.

Perhaps I’ve grown beyond the idea or inclination that I no longer feed my being. When I clean my closet, I get rid of material things I no longer use. In the same way, I practice letting go of ideas or habits that no longer serve me. They may have been important at one time, but my philosophy has evolved. In the practice of letting go, I take stock of what I have or what I believe or what I need.

 

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