It’s true that food nourishes the body, and that’s why it’s key for a holiday like Thanksgiving – both as a reason for gratitude and good health. But there’s also such a thing as food for the soul.
In the aftermath of a contentious presidential election, that’s something our country needs right now. Bombarded with headlines like “There’s No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter” from Slate or “Anti-Trump protests, some violent, erupt” from USA Today, Americans are starving for hope.
And the proof is in the pudding.
When a grandmother mistakenly texted a Thanksgiving dinner invitation to Phoenix high-school senior Jamal Hinton instead of her grandson, Hinton suspected someone had either used the wrong number or his grandmother had finally learned how to text.
After he confirmed the mix-up, Hinton asked if he, a stranger, could still join. “Of course you can,” she responded, “that’s what grandma’s [sic] do.” He accepted – along with his whole family.
That story went viral. BuzzFeed originally reported it and media outlets from NBC News to the Huffington Post quickly snatched up the story. Hundreds of thousands of Americans shared it on social media.
It filled them with hope.
There are also little-known stories, like the Milwaukee police officers who joined forces with high school and college students to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for those less fortunate. There’s Cyd Jokisch, from Kansas City, who – together with the help of her family, friends and neighbors – donates hundreds of turkeys to the Salvation Army each year.
These stories show that our partisan differences can be set aside to strive for something greater. Faced with a political monster too big to tame on our own, we must do what we can to better the world – even if we aren’t the president or the queen. Because, in the end, the big battles are won with the little. It was a pebble that downed Goliath and a hobbit that destroyed The Ring.
Thanksgiving is meant to be a time for thanking God and others in our lives for the blessings bestowed on us. Yes, that’s done with prayer. Yes, that’s done with words of gratitude. But it’s also done with action – and these stories illustrate the significance of giving thanks by giving others a reason to be thankful.
We already know what’s most important. According to a recent survey cited by Christian Today, Americans are most thankful for family (88 percent), followed by health (77 percent), personal freedom (72 percent) and friends (71 percent). Wealth and achievements made the list, but they didn’t come close in comparison.
So at this time of year when we count our own blessings, let’s not forget to be someone else’s blessing too.
With that in mind, here’s the most timeless Thanksgiving recipe – used since America’s very first holiday of giving thanks:
1 cup family
½ cup friends and good company
2 quarts prayer
1 quart smiles and laughter
1 pinch putting aside differences
2 tablespoons gratitude for what we have and whom we love
1 tablespoons sharing what we have with those in need
1 smidgen hugs and kisses
3 teaspoons remembering what’s most important
1 dash respect for the freedoms our country enjoys
Directions: Mix together for a Happy Thanksgiving. (If so desired, adding a turkey and pumpkin pie to the mix never hurt anyone either.)
Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. ~Ronald Reagan