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What is Thankfulness?

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

Last week, families across the country celebrated Thanksgiving. Studies estimate that Americans consumed nearly 46 million turkeys. It also estimated that wives, mothers, and grandmothers across the country collectively spent roughly 322 million hours preparing the Thanksgiving feasts. What a load!

Thanksgiving means different things to different people. Some adore Thanksgiving. Others hate it. I remember growing up with the tradition where each person went around the Thanksgiving table and named one thing for which they were thankful. As a college student, when I suggested to my classmates around the Thanksgiving table that we do the same, half the room scoffed, and one girl even cried! Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday, and not always in a good way.

Two Extremes of Thankfulness

But a holiday literally called, “Thanksgiving” brings up the question: what exactly does it mean to truly be thankful? What is real, authentic, thankfulness?

Some use thankfulness as a tool to tear others down. “I’m thankful I don’t have a son like that.” “I’m thankful I don’t have to put up with that kind of marriage.” People use this false form of thankfulness to belittle others in a socially accepted manner. It intends to lift oneself up by tearing others down. Here, thankfulness is nothing more than well-mannered arrogance.