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Real reasons for gratitude

Today is a day that is all about gratitude.

Gratitude — the state of being thankful — can be transformative. It can change an ordinary day into a day of thanksgiving. It can make mundane tasks more meaningful. It can transform entire lives.

So, as we observe our many Thanksgiving traditions today, we also should reflect on the concept of gratitude and the many things for which we should be grateful.

Certainly, we can be grateful for the delicious feasts that will be laid out before many of us. We can be grateful for the leisure time afforded by the holiday. And we can be grateful for the family and friends who surround us on such a special occasion.

But is it enough to be grateful for those things that are right in front of us on Thanksgiving? Is that what the holiday is truly all about?

Perhaps not.

The Pilgrims of Massachusetts, who hosted the feast that eventually led to establishment of the holiday, had more than just a big meal to be thankful for. They had traveled halfway around the world into the unknown. They had survived harsh winter conditions, illness and all sorts of adversity.

They were grateful simply to be alive.

They also were thankful that an abundant harvest meant that they would have enough food to sustain them through the coming winter. They were grateful that they had formed a workable relationship with the native inhabitants of the area where they had settled. And they appreciated that they had arrived in a place where they were free to worship God as they chose.

Those early settlers were looking at the bigger picture when they sat down to share a meal together and to express their gratitude for all that they had.

Like the Pilgrims, let’s keep the bigger picture in mind today as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Let’s remember all that we have to be grateful for. And let’s try to remain thankful every day.

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