Cultures around the world set aside a day each year to express gratitude. Depending on the culture, the date varies, but it’s usually held around harvest time, when people have reaped the bounties of the earth, and pause to reflect on the goodness of life.
Thanksgiving celebrations are held throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. I’m thinking about this today because where I live, in the United States, we’re getting ready for our annual Thanksgiving holiday.
So I did some research in our OneJourney Living Book and came upon beautiful, inspiring quotations that speak of all we’ve been given that we have to be grateful for. It’s clear that across time and cultures, people have always known hearts full of gratitude for the connection they feel with the Divine.
Arise, shine, thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
— Old Testament
Consider, O discerning man, that you are the image of God and the bond of all creation, both of the heavenly and the terrestrial beings, and whenever you bend your head to worship and glorify God, all the creations, both heavenly and terrestrial, bow their heads with you and in you, to worship God. And whenever you do not worship and glorify Him, all the creations grieve over you and turn against you, and you will fall from grace.
— Simon Of Taibutheth (670)
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth
With a Love like that,
It Lights the
— Hafez (1315)
Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
Not thankful when it please me,
As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart whose pulse
May be thy praise.
— George Herbert (1593)
Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
— Native American Proverb
Day to day, we may face frustration and disappointment. We’re annoyed by the people around us — even the ones we say we love. We get so tied up in the negative voices inside our own heads, we forget to look out at the larger world and really see what we’ve been given — the opportunity to live and grow in understanding and feel the touch of something greater than ourselves.
A yearly Thanksgiving holiday is a great reminder to bring our attention back to the present moment and see the glory of the world around and within us. But don’t just do it once a year. You can know Thanksgiving any moment of any day that you remember to come back to yourself and see with new eyes.
Do you have a quote about gratitude and thanksgiving from your own tradition that you could share with us? If it helped open your heart, it is sure to help others as well. So, click here to submit it to the OneJourney Living Book.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project