Thanksgiving is a Day of Gratitude

Nov 21, 2023 at 11:59 am by JC Bowman

Thanksgiving Day is the perfect canvas of autumn’s ambered hues amid crisp breezy harmonies of winter’s anticipated arrival. Family and friends are the theme for many households with nostalgic remembrance. Traditionally, we gather to enjoy food, laughter, and a sense of gratitude for the prosperous harvests this country has been gifted. However, we should ask: “Have we stopped sowing seeds of kindness and love?”

The concept of traditional hospitality has experienced significant changes in recent times. With the increasing concerns about safety and the fast-paced nature of modern life, people are becoming less inclined to invite strangers or even neighbors into their homes. However, holiday meals still present an excellent opportunity to build relationships and share experiences. In doing so, we should strive to establish meaningful connections while respecting personal boundaries and comfort levels.

Daily, we are bombarded with messages of self-service, self-love, and self-preservation. They are a slippery slope to selfishness barren pastures of inner drought, and famine. Giving prospers our gratitude and humility is its seed.

Gratitude is the heartbeat of love; joy abounds in unified love. Love’s absence threatens the harvests we have come to know and expect, while love’s presence is powerful and contagious. It waters the soul, etching fellowship for the longevity of humanity’s survival.

Acts of kindness can rekindle the lost and rescue the forgotten. Seeds of love, intentional with the authentic fertility of gratitude, can transcend the barren pastures of hopelessness so many people are experiencing.

Countless homes are tormented in loneliness, though the evidence is veiled through illusions of tangible prosperity. Physical homelessness is at an all-time high, though how staggering are the numbers for the homeless soul?

This Thanksgiving season, let us rekindle the flames of love illuminating in gratitude. Let us intentionally plant seeds of kindness in whatever capacity we can, whether it be sharing a meal, calling a family member and/or a friend lost in the stockpile of our busy lives, giving an elderly person a helping hand, encouraging the burdened and, yes, hugging another human being.

We must plant seeds that promise a harvest of unity, strength, and resilience. We should also nurture others with the strength to persevere through life’s battles and the resilience to unify a nation known for diversity and freedoms.

For many, isolation has numbed us, and the apathy of its crusade can no longer be allowed to divide us. The age-old saying, “united we stand, divided we fall,” is the wisdom we must grasp to see harvests abound for generations to come. "E pluribus unum" is a Latin phrase that means "Out of many, one." It's found on the Great Seal of the United States and is a motto that reflects the idea of unity emerging from diversity since 1782.

Thanksgiving carries a message that is relevant to everyone, regardless of their culture or beliefs. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for us to recognize the blessings in our lives. Gratitude helps us connect with others and develop empathy by acknowledging their efforts and contributions. Essentially, it is a reminder to appreciate the kindness of others and to maintain a sense of abundance even in difficult times.

Embracing thankfulness and gratitude focuses on what we have, rather than what we lack. In life, we must cherish relationships, experiences, and simple joys, ultimately enriching our lives with a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment. The power of collective gratitude can impact our families and communities, as well as our nation this Thanksgiving. 


Brenda Demonbreun is a writer, poet, and author. Her latest book is The Soul of a Soldier.  JC Bowman is the executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee.