This is part of a series by the Staff of Asclepius contributors on gratitude, for this (US) Thanksgiving holiday.
If we are going to be thankful for something we need to be responsible and care for it.
If we say we are thankful for family and friends, we need to help them in times of need and offer friendliness when possible.
If we are thankful for our food, we need to respect the farmers and animals that provided the meal.
If we are thankful for the Earth and its bounty, we need to do what we can to preserve Nature.
If we are thankful for our serenity or strength, we need to continue to be honest with ourselves and love ourselves.
This world view takes a lot more effort than just saying a blessing over our Thanksgiving meal or in any ritual work we may do tomorrow. Of course, we are not perfect, but it is important to try and really show concern and gratitude for what we are thankful for through our actions.
Traditionally people gather around a table and formally feast on turkey and all the trimmings. But there are those in need who eat at community kitchens or are delivered simple meals to their home. Years ago Mike and I had several young teenage friends, when we were in our 20s, who had left their foster homes and were living on their own. They barely made enough for rent an often ate what they called bachelor stew. Ramen with a packet of gravy. I didn’t want any of them to be stuck eating bachelor stew on Thanksgiving so I invited them to celebrate at our home. I knew these teens would feel uncomfortable if I said a formal blessing so we took turns stabbing the turkey with the carving knife and saying what we were grateful for.
There is a lot of things to be grateful for this season and every day. It’s up to us to protect what we are grateful for.