The Heart of Thanksgiving

When you think of Thanksgiving, what images come to mind? Roast turkey? Pumpkin pie? Watching football with your family or laughter with friends? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

In just a few days, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Yet for many, the actual day will be so full of activity that there will be little time for reflection. Thanksgiving should be about more than a parade, a six-course meal and pumpkin pie. It’s meant to be a time for intentional gratitude.

Gratitude magnifies our experience of the good things in life, enabling us to enjoy them more fully. Gratitude also helps us to endure the hard things in life with dignity and, at times, even with humor. I once heard gratitude described like “savoring a delicious meal, enjoying every bite, instead of racing through a meal as if it’s some sort of race.”

I ask that, in all the busyness of the day, you not forget the heart of Thanksgiving. In fact, think of Thanksgiving as more of a season than just a day. If your “Turkey Day” is already full with family, friends, food and football, then I encourage you to set aside some time on the day before or the day after to remember all that you have. Better yet, reflect on the good things for several minutes each day this week and next. Take a walk around campus, a neighborhood or in nature, sit still in a quiet room of your apartment or patio home, a church, or the Life Center and just listen to your heart. You might find that your celebration of Thanksgiving is richer and fuller than you could ever imagine. In fact, you might just discover that your overall happiness with life improves.

Expressing heartfelt gratitude is one of life’s greatest joys. And it is the true heart of Thanksgiving. So let me invite you—yes, urge you—to take time in this season of Thanksgiving for real expression of gratitude. You’ll be glad you did.

I am so grateful to Beatitudes Campus, our residents and families, our incoming residents for the new patio homes, our founders, board members, friends of the campus and the team members who, through hard yet heartfelt work, live out our mission every day. Together we are a community and it is impossible to be that without each of our own lives also being enriched. So on this occasion, I want to take a moment to wish all of you a Happy, and Grateful Thanksgiving season.