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Seeing the value of Thanksgiving

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"The First Thanksgiving" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1915
“The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1915

Many of us never truly understand the value of our everyday lives or the people we call family and friends, but we try, especially on Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving” is an expression of gratitude, the quality of being thankful, and it is a day that we show appreciation to others that have returned kindness to us.

This national holiday, celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in November, is also a time where Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. The Thanksgiving celebrations today would be unrecognizable to those who were a part of the original 1621 harvest meal, but despite the changes, it is still time for friends and family to come together.

The “first” Thanksgiving dinner was said to be held in 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast in celebration of their first successful corn harvest.

Days of “thanksgiving” were celebrated by individual colonies and states for more than two centuries, but in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Modern, traditional foods that are served on Thanksgiving are turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

In some American households, the celebration of Thanksgiving is centered more on cooking and having a large meal with family and friends, not for the original purpose of celebrating and giving thanks. They may take for granted the time they spend with their families.

We live in a technology-driven age, where everything is constantly moving and changing; we often let it take control of our lives without even noticing.

I’d like to challenge you to cut out everything around you; put away your phone, turn off the TV, and just think about the life you are living. Take the time to think about what you have and what you are thankful for.

To truly understand the value of our lives, we should do this now and then. We should think of all the sacrifices that past generations have made for us so that we can live as freely as possible.

We should think about how we are living our lives. We should think about family and what it means to us. We should embrace the present, live in the moment, with the people who surround us today.

So stop. Stop where you are, for just a moment. Stop all the chatter; stop all the movement. Stop and listen. You might just realize a little something new about yourself, about the people that are a part of your life, and what you have to be thankful for beyond the feasting and football this year at Thanksgiving.