With the memories of Thanksgiving weekend still fresh in our minds, now might be a good time to reflect on the nature of the holiday and what it actually means to be thankful.
The four century old tradition began as a celebration of the harvest, and while that is still of direct relevance to an agricultural community such as ours here in the Pontiac its meaning has expanded to be one of general gratitude.
Still, in these times, it can feel difficult to be grateful, with local tragedies that took place in Ladysmith last week, the re-election of a government that threatens the rights of minorities in Quebec, a looming economic recession that will surely cause hardship to many, the unlikely yet still real possibility of a nuclear war stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the devastation wrought by climate change, among thousands of other problems affecting individuals, communities and the world.
Yet, it is in difficult times that being grateful for the good things in our lives becomes crucial. Not only does it provide some solace, but it also reminds us what is worth protecting.
Thanksgiving is a time when people get together with family or friends to relax and laugh. We may each have our own rituals and ways of celebrating our time together, but the ethos of the holiday is one of emphasizing gratefulness.
While the holiday might not always work out the way it is idealized to be, the time off work and festive atmosphere at least give people the opportunity to really sit and appreciate the good things that they have going for them.
Whether it be for family, friends that stand in for a family, a community, a passion that motivates you, the natural beauty that surrounds us or just some free time to relax, most people have a reason to be thankful and, through being thankful, we value and are energized to fight for those things when they are challenged.
So, while reflecting on Thanksgiving, let’s really take stock of what is worth caring about and investing energy in, and what isn’t. Making sure you are supporting the important people in your life, taking an active role in your community, helping people when you are able and making sure our leaders work towards ensuring that our society’s future is viable and bright are all things worth getting involved in.
When we are centered on that feeling of gratefulness and take action to nourish and protect the things that create it, it can go a long way to making our world a better place for all of us.
Brett Thoms and Charles Dickson
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