Cheryl Guess
Rev. Cheryl Guess

How would I explain Thanksgiving to someone in another country?

A few years ago I invited my friend from Germany, Beate, to Thanksgiving Dinner.  We had dinner with one of my dear friends, and she had the full experience of a Thanksgiving family dinner.  When I was driving her home, she said to me, “So, Thanksgiving is all about eating?”  We had not explained what the holiday was all about, and I laughed so hard when I thought about how it must appear to people from outside of the United States.  Once I explained that it is to commemorate the first harvest of the Pilgrim’s, and how the American Indians had shared their food, she said they had a similar holiday in Germany.

Thanksgiving to is one of the best celebrations of the year.  To me, it is the official Day of Gratitude.  As a child, it was a day for the entire family to gather at my Grandmother’s house for a feast.  Although we said grace prior to eating, gratitude was not the focus of the event.  It was the food.  It was the time when an uneasy peace was declared between family members who were not on the best of terms to sit down and share a meal together.

Now, I’m so blessed to experience Thanksgiving from a totally different perspective.

Professor Randy Rausch, formerly with Carnegie Mellon University, stated, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” He believed that “showing appreciation for others was the strongest yet simplest act someone could do for anyone.”  I think of it as the Law of Gratitude.

To me, the Law of Gratitude is similar to the Law of Cause and Effect, or the principle of action and reaction.  When we express gratitude for all we receive from the Universal Lifeforce, the energy we expend on thankfulness flows into the beautiful connectedness between our Source and us.  This Lifeforce’s spontaneous reaction is to move toward us.  Gratitude draws us and our Source directly towards each other.

During this holiday season, take a moment each day to reflect upon all that you are grateful for in all areas of your life.  Gratitude is a direct path to joy, so live each moment with a grateful heart.


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