Toward a universal Thanksgiving

EVERY year when the Thanksgiving weekend approaches I wish the holiday were universal. Part of my family is not from the United States, and I feel a little hesitant about displaying my great enthusiasm for such an American holiday. At first I wondered if my spouse would be able to understand the meaning that many Americans find in the elementary school Pilgrim play or the ritual of having turkey and pumpkin pie. How shortsighted it is to restrict Thanksgiving to an event in American history or a set menu of turkey dinner. Thanksgiving has a meaning that is international. It's not turkey and Pilgrim hats that make Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving stands for gratitude and giving. Any day in any place can turn into a celebration of thanks. Thanksgiving isn't really celebrated unless thanks are given for the good in our lives. If we have gratitude in our heart, we are experiencing Thanksgiving. Saying thanks and really meaning it is possible all over the world. A particular day set aside for celebration may be a time to give thanks collectively, but it doesn't take the place of a person's need to be grateful every day for something good. God is the great giver of all good. He gives to man, His offspring, unstintingly. The Psalmist said, ``Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.'' 1 The best way to thank Him, then, is to love with the love we have been loved with, give with the same outpouring of good that we have been given. All the qualities that define God's nature belong to man too as His likeness. God, being divine Mind, gives man intelligence and insight. Divine Love gives man spiritual affection and satisfactio n. These Godlike qualities are more than a gift or loan; they are the permanent possession of our true identity, because man is the reflection of God. What if we feel we have nothing, and therefore no reason to show any gratitude? In a country where prosperity is unknown, is there a reason to give thanks? Yes. God gives impartially to man. No people or country is left out of His love. Everyone can partake of what God gives, and gratitude is often what brings His gifts to light in our lives. Health, peace, fulfillment, wisdom, and love are some of the riches that come from God. The need to be properly fed, clothed, sheltered, and employed does not go unmet when we are conscious of the spiritual riches we have. Appreciation of the permanent good that God gives us brings harmony to human life. Though material conditions may hide the good that man has as God's reflection, poverty or some other desperate circumstance can't destroy that good. The good that comes from God is always ready to multiply in our lives when we realize it is there. Before discovering and founding Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy experienced years when she had poor health and very little money. Yet, after finding healing from her troubles, she could write, ``Wholly apart from this mortal dream, this illusion and delusio n of sense, Christian Science comes to reveal man as God's image, His idea, coexistent with Him--God giving all and man having all that God gives.'' 2 One thing that God does not give us is anything bad. What doesn't have its source in the eternal Mind has no legitimacy. It can be eliminated from our lives and the lives of people in any part of the world through prayer. The prayer that brings wonderful changes for the better is the prayer that accepts as lawful and real only what God creates. Much of Christ Jesus' time was spent freeing people from the crippling cycles of illness and despair. What an understanding of the spiritual facts of God's rea lity Jesus had! The same scientific healing truth that Jesus demonstrated then heals now, as he promised it would. Thankfulness for what is spiritually true is an essential part of the prayer that acknowledges God's supremacy and destroys evil. Should our celebration of Thanksgiving become worldwide? That would be a wonderful event! Surely grateful giving to others and appreciation for all that God gives man can be universal. The more that giving thanks is a part of our own lives, the more we'll help forward its universality and healing influence. 1 Psalms 68:19. 2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 5.

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