Thanksgiving has been a long-standing American tradition. The pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving in the early 17th century to “give thanks” to God and celebrate a plentiful harvest. Now, Thanksgiving has little to do with giving thanks to a creator and more to do with turkey, which wasn’t even around during the first feast, and football, which I thoroughly enjoy. Like many traditions and holidays, we’ve shifted focus away from any “god” and placed it more or less on ourselves.
I don’t think it’s wrong to appreciate humanity- ourselves and loved ones. I think it’s healthy and wise as a lot of unity, compassion, and self-esteem stems from being grateful for who we are and what we have. However, for me, as much as my thankfulness is with regard to humanity, it also consists of a deeper gratitude extended toward a creator. I believe appreciation for some thing, or some one, greater actually increases appreciation for the seemingly “smaller things.” It does, however, depend on how you view the “some thing greater.” Our ability to be thankful is dependent on our perception of God and our place in this great universe.
How we view our Creator determines our view of creation. In other words, if I think God is a big, grey bearded man, who bitterly sits on a throne and waits for humanity to make a mistake so he can punish them, then my view of creation will likely stem from a place of apathy. I’ll care less about the environment, and the people within that environment because God is just waiting to punish. If I don’t see God as being grateful and loving toward creation, then I too will lose a sense of gratitude and love toward creation. Nevertheless, if I see God as a loving and compassionate creator who is madly in love with all of creation, then I will see creation with those same “eyes.” If I acknowledge that God, the everlasting and all powerful, values me and my fellow neighbor more than I ever could, then who am I to not place value on either? Who am I not to be grateful for all I’ve been given and for all that I am?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is love, gratitude and thanksgiving. Yet how much more gratitude can the eye of the beholder have if she understands that she is beheld as beautiful and lovable in the eye of the creator of beauty, thankfulness, and love?