Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Morning Thanks--Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the most un-American of holidays.  Christmas should be, I suppose, but it's been so thoroughly co-opted (starting just 48 hours from now with Black Friday) that it's almost silly to talk about it as if the holiday were somehow counter-cultural.  Tons of merchants--small businesses--end the year in the black only because of the flood of holiday shopping. 

In the public mind, Christmas is, in a way, almost the opposite of Thanksgiving because it's all about things--about buying and selling, about giving and getting.  It's about more, a kind of holiday for coveters.

But on Thanksgiving people ritually express their thanks not for what they'll get but for what they already have--be it stuff or health or happiness.  William Jennings Bryan said that on Thanksgiving we celebrate our dependence.  Isn't that a great line?  But could anything be more un-American?

And here's a boost:  according the John Tierney, in the NY Times, Thanksgiving is also the most "psychologically correct holiday of the year" because simple thanks are good for you--good for the mind, good for the heart (literally), and good for the soul.  Seriously.

Thirty-six hours from now, I will, I'm certain, feel as stuffed as our 13-pound turkey was.  I'll try like mad to get outside to move around, to walk, to deflate my insides from that cloud of mashed potatoes and gravy.  That'll happen--trust me.
According to Tierney, research makes clear this plain-and-simple fact:  thanksgiving--which is to say giving thanks--is just plain good for you. 

Strange as it may sound, dependence is a blessing.  That's why tomorrow's holiday--barring eating disorders and family feuds--may well be the most blessed of all, if we really do celebrate, with prayer, our dependence on God.  My goodness, I sound like a Calvinist.

Which reminds me, did you know that the that first Thanksgiving lasted three days?  A bit excessive for those staunch and starchy Calvinists, don't you think?  Then again, maybe they knew better than we do.

Anyway, thanks for the idea, Mr. William Jennings Bryan:  on Thanksgiving, we get together and celebrate our dependence. 

Maybe even a bottle rocket or two. 

It's a real Calvinist holiday, a big day for all of us.

Except turkeys. 

This morning's morning thanks are for Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! From a vegan, gobble, gobble.