There are plenty of historical renditions about what this holiday is intended to represent; good people suffering terribly bad times who, after surviving the worst of conditions and beating the worst of odds, found themselves celebrating their salvation by indulging in the bounty reaped from the seeds their earlier labor had sown. Some died, some lived, new souls were born and God's mercy was bestowed upon those who lived on by His good grace. And the infant "America" was allowed to continue to grow and prosper.
This notion of "giving thanks" brings with it a wide and varied interpretation; those of us with an abiding faith believe it is a way to remember our Creator and to share with others (and remind ourselves of) the wonderment of what His presence in our lives is meant to bring. To others, it might be good enough to consider this day as one in which we simply revel in the joy and happiness our extended families bring to our lives (even the relatives we hardly abide throughout the balance of the year).
In the past year we have lost far too many loved ones while also enjoying not nearly enough additions to our respective families...really now, is there such a thing as too many cute and cuddly newborns?
We have discovered new friendships, strengthened old ones, found new loves, and entered in to the wobbly world of wedded bliss. And through it all, we have been blessed with God's grace and His mercy on those of us so terribly in need of His presence in our lives.
We, each of us, have our own reasons for which we'd like to give thanks.
I give thanks for God's grace in bringing two sisters into my life without whom I would not be the person I am today, and without whom I might still not see the beauty and wonder God's mercy is meant to bring to all His children. I give thanks for His having seen one of them through a terribly difficult and potentially life-threatening medical problem so that she might continue to fuss over me and keep me on the straight and narrow path. I give thanks that He sees to it that my other sister watches over us both, that we might stay enough out of trouble so as to prevent her from having to apologize for our mischievous ways while unconditionally loving us both all the same.
And I give thanks for my loved ones, here and departed... they have enriched my life and the lives around me that they touched along the way. Without them, I would not be "me."
I wonder...besides the easy stuff like good jobs and healthy kids and tables full of food today...what do any of YOU give thanks for?
God's mercy keeps those we love and care about safe, and His grace brings to us the greater gifts for which we have little real knowledge we even need in our lives. For these things, this year, I give my thanks...and my hope that you each find mercy and grace in your own lives today and in the times ahead.