Thanksgiving in Australia

It’s strange being in Australia for Thanksgiving.  We’re getting together with some other expatriate Americans, but since no one gets off work for Thursday, we’re going to have our big meal on Saturday.  Though since American Thursday is Australian Friday, we’re off anyway.  Scrounging all over town for Turkey, cranberries, cornmeal (for dressing), and other staples also gives a new dimension to the feast, but I think we have found everything.  We certainly have a lot to be thankful about, so we can remember those things even on the other side of the world.

So may you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Dependence Day

July 4 is Independence Day.  Thanksgiving is Dependence Day, a time to remember how dependent we are on God and on each other.  And our appreciation of this dependence is gratitude.

After the jump, a post by one of my ex-students quoting one of my ex-colleagues. [Read more…]

Gratitude day

Happy Thanksgiving!  Luther described gratitude as “the basic Christian attitude.”  One of the words for the Lord’s Supper, “Eucharist,” means simply “thanksgiving.”  (UPDATE:  The Greek word, in turn, means, literally, “good gift.”  And the word for “gift” is related to the word for “grace.”  The “Eucharist” thus connotes God’s good gift and God’s good grace.  And “thanksgiving” is our response to God’s good gifts and to His good grace.”)

After the jump, a brief discussion of gratitude as a Christian concept. [Read more…]

The psychology (and benefits) of gratitude

The field of psychology has usually concentrated on trying to understand aberrations and psychological problems.  But now a strain is concentrating on “positive psychology,” seeking to understand mental well-being.  A key aspect is gratitude.  People who have an attitude of thankfulness show a whole range of other positive traits, not only psychologically but physicially! [Read more…]

A holiday for adults

Folklorist Jack Santino observes that Thanksgiving is pretty much the only national holiday that hasn’t shifted its focus to children.  In fact, they are often shunted off to the “kids’ table.”  The emphasis instead is on grandparents, patriarchs and matriarchs, family traditions going back for generations, and blessings that adults are in the best position to savor. [Read more…]

Why Ben Franklin preferred the Turkey to the Eagle

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

“With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward…

“I am, on this account, not displeas’d that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turky. For in truth, the Turky is in comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

–Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, 1784,referring in the last paragraph to a picture of an eagle that looks more like a turkey.)

via Barbecue Turkey And Grilled Turkey: The Ultimate Smoked Turkey Recipe.

So, among other things, he was being funny, as was his wont.