Dr. Bill Atwood

Happy Thanksgiving

Each year on the last Thursday of the month of November our fellow citizens step back from the usual things we do to pause and give thanks for the many blessings that we enjoy.

This holiday is celebrated all across America in many different ways, but the fact that we take time to give thanks shows the kind of people we happen to be.

Some will gather in houses of worship during the morning hours of the day and give thanks to God for what he has bestowed upon us. They will pray and sing and hear messages that remind each of our blessings. The word holiday has its roots in the phrase Holy Day and so it is fitting for many that they make their holiday a Holy Day as well.

Others will gather with family. Members of those families may travel here, or some from here will travel out of our Mountain Area to families to reunite at one table to share their thanks. Thanksgiving tugs at the hearts of many and this holiday creates one of the busiest times in the travel industry. Families may travel by air, car, train, or bus, but travel they do to share that special time with people they love.

Many amongst us will gather with friends and celebrate this wonderful occasion. They will share that special relationship that is described as the bonds of friendship. Many friendships are as close and as special as our relationships with our blood relatives.

Some will give up all or part of their day to work in soup kitchens or at rescue missions to help feed those less fortunate than ourselves. For many this is a traditional way to give back to the community while reminding themselves how well off they happen to be.

We gather together to eat a meal which many describe as the breaking of bread with one another. We are the only species on this planet that eats socially. Others eat in packs to share the prey of the day or for safety purposes, but our species eats to share with one another our experiences.

We gather to celebrate events such as births, weddings, baptisms, or graduations. We gather to celebrate milestones such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and we gather to comfort one another in our sorrows such as the death of a friend or family member. The breaking of the bread helps bind us with each other and we treasure those folks with whom we share our meals.

We will exchange hugs and kisses and then at some point the subject of our reasons for which we are thankful comes to the forefront. Our liberty, our spiritual relationship with our God, our families and friends, good health, jobs, warm shelter and clothing, and our time with one another are usually listed or mentioned.

Along with those reasons to give thanks I will be remembering the troops and the emergency personnel who ensure the quality of life we enjoy. I will be remembering my students and colleagues who work in the educational system as well as you, my readers, who welcome me into your homes each week in the Sierra Star. I will be thankful to live among such generous folks that pitch in time, talent, and much treasure whenever the need arises here or afar. I am grateful that my wife’s health continues to improve and that she also has the patience of a saint to put up with someone like me.

I heard a guy a few weeks ago state the reason for giving thanks so very well. He said, “Imagine if you woke up this morning with only the things you thanked God for last night in your prayers.” We need to remember to give thanks and remember from where all the blessings flow.

Let’s not allow the use of the word turkey to replace Thanksgiving as the name of this day. Let’s not let it be only a day for football games. Let’s not let the fun of celebrations allow us to forget the reason for the holiday.

We are so blessed to get to live in the United States of America, and moreso that we get to live here in this beautiful Mountain Area. Let us resolve to never ever take those blessings for granted and let’s give thanks with truly grateful hearts.

May God’s blessings pour upon you and your family.

Happy Thanksgiving Day.