To Whom Do You Give Thanks?

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...
English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanksgiving may well be another frontier over which Americans choose to become ever more divided.  Yes, even the dinner table — on a national holiday, in a country that guarantees our civil liberties — can become a battlefield for our beliefs.

I am dismayed at how many people have been telling me to have a “happy holiday” this week.  I simply cannot believe that the word thanksgiving is cause for offense to anyone.  I am thrilled that we finally accept that there are many different beliefs in this country.  I am ecstatic that we are aware of the many different holidays that occur at this time of year.  But I thought that Thanksgiving was one holiday that we could surely all celebrate in unison.

The Pilgrims were thankful to God, specifically their Christian god, for all they had been given, including religious freedom in this new world.  They celebrated with the Pokanokets who were, themselves, no strangers of thankfulness to their creator.  The Pilgrims thanked God for providing these natives who had taught them how to live in this strange and coarse wilderness.

It was this first flight from religious restriction that allows us the privilege to accept, respect and incorporate so many different beliefs into one society.  Are we not all thankful — every race, color, religion, gender, or creed?  As an Atheist, am I not thankful?  You might ask, to whom does an Atheist give thanks, if not to a god?

I am thankful to those who have fought to defend my civil liberties.  I am thankful to my parents for the tangible and intangible gifts they continue to give me long after their death.  I am thankful to my children, with whom I exchange love unquestioningly.  I am thankful to Bubba for all he gives me to smile and laugh about.  I am thankful to my employer who shows appreciation with a paycheck and benefits that allow me to live a healthy, happy life.  I am thankful to the intelligent people who have given me all the technologies that make life easy and fun.

There is so much to take for granted, or even bitch about in this life.  Thanksgiving is a time for all people to remember not only the things we have been given, but be thankful for them.  Observing thankfulness spans all cultures, nations, and religions with all the beliefs they bring with them.  Gratitude, we have learned, is a healthy, healing undertaking.  For one religion to claim rights to Thanksgiving because some of the first people to observe it were Christian is like saying the Native Americans gave us high fructose corn syrup because they showed us how to plant corn.

Peace . . .

To whom and for what are you thankful today?

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25 thoughts on “To Whom Do You Give Thanks?

  1. This is pure brilliance: “For one religion to claim rights to Thanksgiving because some of the first people to observe it were Christian is like saying the Native Americans gave us high fructose corn syrup because they showed us how to plant corn.”!

    Happy Thanksgiving Jean!

  2. I loved this. I have a hard time explaining my belief in a field of energy that just keeps giving as long as we let it and are grateful. it’s just pure love. I’m not religious either just always accepting. Not worded as well as you expressed this. Thanks and enjoy your day and family. 🙂

  3. Mike

    Are you sure that you are not a deist? Most people I question who profess to be atheist, change their minds after I ask then a few questions.

    1. It was very nice, and lasted late until after midnight! Unfortunately for Bubba, he is at work and I am home with my feet up today!

      I hope yours was peaceful and bountiful as well!

  4. So it’s the Native Americans who are to blame for the high fructose corn syrup? Love it. i don’t often think on Thanksgiving of the outer world when I think of what i am thankful for, but yes I am thankful for living in a free country where my family and I can feel safe and not worry constantly. But mostly I marvel at the life I have gained. There was a time when I didn’t want to live, couldn’t see life getting any better. To now have unconditional love from family and friends, to know my children and grandchildren are healthy and happy and that I can spend time with them this is what makes me thankful.

  5. Pingback: 10 Ways to be Good Role Model for your Inner Child | seeking life

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