Thanksgiving and all the ways it has real meaning

Thanksgiving and all the ways it has real meaning

In the U.S., Thanksgiving Day is always the fourth Thursday in November.

Do we truly understand the breadth of what Thanksgiving means, though? Yes, we have our childhood memories of loving, familiar faces gathered around a dining room table ladened with savory food.

For me, and perhaps for you, I cherish those thoughts of the soothing fragrance of a steaming, hot turkey fresh out of the oven, tasty mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, flavorful stuffing, and, of course, homemade pumpkin pie. That mental picture never gets old.

In my case it was usually grandma Frith’s three daughters and their families who somehow found room to squeeze into one space to enjoy the feast and one another’s company. I hang on to those precious recollections, knowing it was a different era then.

Times have changed as they should. We’ve all grown up. Our grandmother and all our parents have passed on. Even the oldest of the 17 baby boomer grandchildren died too young.

We are scattered all across the country now, still related but disconnected. We each have created new traditions with our own families. In effect, we are replicating what we knew, what we loved, only altered to fit our situations.

As our adult children married and have children of their own, holidays like Thanksgiving naturally take on new approaches. In our mobile age, families learn to share their loved ones. It’s the prudent thing to do.

So one year we gather together on Thanksgiving Day with as many immediate family members as possible. The following year, Nana and Poppy find alternative ways to celebrate.

We gather with our grandchildren and their parents when it is convenient. It’s still Thanksgiving, just not on the designated day. We are thankful nonetheless.

To me, the date and day are insignificant. I am thrilled to assemble with our intimate troupe wherever and whenever we can. While my stomach rumbles full of turkey, my soul is full of joy. The latter is the preferred nourisher.

For that, I am most grateful. I also am aware all peoples are not equally blessed, and that thought alone humbles me. It stirs me to be more vigilant for opportunities to care and share with those less fortunate.

I count my blessings, indeed, grateful to be where I am, at this place in time, even if the times are hard for some. It is our responsibility to help others however and wherever possible, simply for the common good of all.

For no matter our circumstances, we are one nation indivisible. We must work hard to keep it that way, especially at Thanksgiving.

The word “thanksgiving” is derived from two words and blended for a singular meaning. The word “thanksgiving” dates back to the 1530s and is formed by combining the noun “thanks” with the verb “giving.”

“Thanks” is taken from the Old English “panc,” meaning grateful thought. “Giving” comes from the Old English “giefan,” meaning to bestow or grant.

Consequently, Thanksgiving is more than a mere term, more than a holiday. Thanksgiving is a sentence requiring appreciation, gratitude and generosity.

So Thanksgiving means much more than delicious food, genuine fellowship and back-to-back-to-back football games. Thanksgiving involves praise, reflection and acts of kindness.

The Thanksgiving command suggests a trio of actions for each of us. First, we must remember those who have helped us achieve what we have. Second, we must embrace and celebrate with our friends and family. Third, we need to share our blessings of abundance with others.

In so doing, Thanksgiving weaves the past, the present and the future into a purposeful, warming lifestyle tapestry. That alone is reason to be thankful.

Bruce Stambaugh writes about nature, weather, hobbies and people, often using personal experiences. Much to their dismay, he also writes about his family. He uses humor and pathos when he can’t think of anything else to include. To read more The Rural View, visit Stambaugh at www.thebargainhunter.com.