Whether you’re religious or not, it’s good to celebrate a season in which we can offer thanks — be it to your god, your family, or your friends. This is the second Thanksgiving in a row during which many people are finding themselves struggling to get by. Unemployment in the United States remains in double digits and reports earlier this month indicated that the number of people going hungry in America is rising as a result of the recession. Worldwide the number of hungry has also risen by millions. In times of plenty, it is easy to find things for which to be thankful. It is sometimes not so easy, when times are difficult. H.U. Westermayer reminds us that “the Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
Even if you are struggling, the best way to demonstrate thanks for things like the beauty of the earth is to help someone else. That help need not be monetary. A kind word or a thoughtful act can be meaningful in someone else’s life. President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” W. J. Cameron expressed a similar thought when he wrote: “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgiving holidays.