The Core of Thanksgiving

We grow into an orientation of gratitude.  I imagine there to be many ways to chart that course.  Maybe one way plays off  of our Thanksgiving theme this year.

Step One: What We Have

Children seem to start with simple orientation of a need to “have.”  As one author noted, there are basic needs – “havings” – safety, food etc….  What parent doesn’t remember the “snatching” stage.  From a Christian New Church perspective, important to note, that this may well be a necessary and formative stage in maturation.  It appears there is something in the human psyche that needs to “have.”

Step Two:  What We Have Is The Point

Step Two is when we become far more conscious of our “having” and that endeavor comes self consciously to center in our lives.  I know as a parent, this stage is the most difficult for me to witness my children go through.  Watching them scroll through the web or stroll through the mall in search of “stuff” that supports their identity as they see it is often painful.  And, it needs said, in our culture, one in which we often are define ourselves by what we have, this stage maybe is a necessity or at the least, unavoidable.  But don’t allow growth to get arrested here!

Step Three: What We Have To Give Is The Point

Step Three is when “To Give” arrives.  Identity moves from “out there” as defined by the “stuff” we have accumulated to the heart, to the soul.  We see our gifts as gifts of spirit and connection.  This gift what we have to give.   I am not sure we can arrive in this place without at least some orientation towards what is spiritual.  Maybe we don’t arrive here without a realization that Step One and Step Two somehow failed us.  And important to note that at this point a certain  self identity begins to rest deeply in our souls.  We may “have” a great deal of possessions or not.  That no longer is the point however.  The point is what we do have, we have our always had – a deep gift of a caring soul reaching out to God and reaching out to others.


Imagine the world created out of a belief that “What we have to give is the point.”  Really fun to think about!  Take time this Thanksgiving to have that conversation.  It certainly seems to orient one towards the holiday season and the deep spirit of humble gratitude that paves the way for Christmas.    New worlds get born from there!

What do you have to give?

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One Response to “The Core of Thanksgiving”

  1. Pat Doyle says:

    After witnessing the beauty and power of what I believe to be a spritual awakening for another individual, I find myself in awe once again of Gods divine nature. I had a chance to sit and reflect on the blessings in my life that I am truly thankful for; amazingly, there are indeed many…some large, and others so small that we often don’t see them. First and foremost is my relationship with and understanding of God; without that I would still be the same fearful, misguided, self absorbed person that I lived most of my life as. The wonderful people that have become such an integral piece of my daily life are indeed blessings and a gift….I did not ask for them, they were given to me freely through the grace of God. God does not exist for me in the heavens; his message surrounds me everywhere I choose to look, for it is through other people we truly learn. I have come to understand there are only 2 emotions, love and fear; our feelings (happiness, sadness, anger, joy, etc) are byproducts of one of those emotions. By trusting in God’s best intentions for me, I can set aside my fears and unconditionally love another human being because it is the right thing to do. The shift from selfish to selfless is a journey in itself; but the rewards are endless.

    I have been fortunate enough to be joined by another in a spiritual journey that gives us strength as individuals, but also empowers us as a couple to embrace each other and our partnership without fear. This is again a blessing and gift that has been given to us freely under Gods guidance. We may not have the same understanding of God, but we do recognize the shared experience of knowing and believing there is a God improves our lives and the lives of those we touch.

    Thanksgiving is not about the Pilgrims thanking the Indians for helping them in those first few years of colonization; it is the thanks the Pilgrims gave to God for putting the Indians in ther life. Much the same can be said of our own lives, it is only through our willingness to open our eyes and extend ourselves to others that we can truly experience real love…and unconditional love, I believe is the best intention of Gods will for us.

    So as you go about your day today and the days that follow, look around, take time to open your eyes and extend yourself to those around you. Wish the stranger well, and smile at the man who frowns; we are not only recipients of small blessings, sometimes we are the blessing. Place humanity in your thoughts daily and pray you are guided to a place that can fill anothers heart with love and peacefulness. Is there no better gift to give?

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