As a Brit first coming to the United States, I couldn’t believe that a whole holiday could be centered around being grateful.
It struck me as so beautiful. It still does.
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday.
What are you grateful for? Have you started a list?
I’m a big list maker. (I’ve even been known to add things I’ve already done to my to do list just so I can immediately cross them off. Oh dear. I know. It’s sad for me.)
But at Thanksgiving, here is a chance to make lists not of what you haven’t done—but of the things you’re grateful for because you’ve been given them.
The funny thing is—once you start making that list you pretty soon realize something startling: what is there exactly that you haven’t been given?
Think about it.
There they [the trees] are, these great incandescent angels of light—putting on such a glorious display every fall—and mostly we’re just walking by, heads bowed, looking at our devices.
Your work? I work hard, someone might say, and I’m good at what I do. Yes, but who gave you the brainpower and the energy to be as good as you are at what you do?
Your health? I take care good of myself, someone might say. Yes, but who gave you your strong body in the first place?
Your family? I have loving friends and family, someone might say. Yes, but who gave you those friends and that family?
Our family, our friends, our work, our health, our very life—it’s all a gift. None of it is a right. It could so easily have been different.
That we’re even here.
That we are even here to see the beauty all around us.
Take trees for instance. Have you noticed them lately? In Central Park they’ve been shining brighter than any lamp ever could.
I sometimes feel sorry for the trees.
There they are, these great incandescent angels of light—putting on such a glorious display every fall—and mostly we’re just walking by, heads bowed, looking at our devices.
But that doesn’t stop them. They keep on. Trying to catch our eye. Reminding us to notice. Calling to us to drop our devices. And lift our heads. And open our eyes and see. Pointing us beyond themselves—to the Joy that made them. Breaking our hearts with their beauty.
That’s why I love this time of year. On the heels of the trees, comes Thanksgiving.
It’s as if the trees have been preparing us. Doing their job so we can do ours.
What’s our job at Thanksgiving?
To see. To receive. To be grateful.
And here’s the other funny thing. The very act of being grateful, turns out to be a gift in itself. It doubles your happiness. G.K. Chesterton said it: “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
So… here’s to a happy, WONDER-filled Thanksgiving!
What are you grateful for? What will go on your list?
But I know what’s first on mine.
Trees. For doing their job of being trees so beautifully. For filling us with wonder.
Followed closely by a holiday called Thanksgiving.
Sally Lloyd Jones is a Brit who came to the U.S. in 1989—“just for a year or two.” She’s still here. She is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author of "How To Be A Baby By Me The Big Sister." Her newest book is "The Story of God's Love for You." She can be found at sallylloyd-jones.com.