Saying Thank You – The American Way

The American custom of celebrating Thanksgiving is an event that in Britain barely registers on our radar.

Falling as it does a mere four weeks before Christmas, we feel as if we have enough on our plates when the last Thursday in November arrives. If we think about the Thanksgiving holiday at all, it is probably combined with the thought that we will soon be sitting around our own table groaning under the weight of turkey and other Christmas fare surrounded by our nearest and dearest.

So am I a lone voice in the British wilderness craving a delight in the concept of  ‘Giving Thanks’?

It possibly goes back to my country roots of Harvest Thanksgiving and churches decorated with sheaves of corn, fruit and vegetables. When congregations the length and breadth of rural England sang their socks off to the joyful refrain: “All is Safely Gathered In” – irrespective of whether or not the harvest was actually finished and all the cereal crops had been safely ‘gathered in’. I remember summers when my father, a Norfolk farmer, was plagued by mechanical break downs which brought all harvesting activity to a worrying halt. These invariably happened at the exact same moment that the sun came out.

Despite post harvest exhaustion and constant concerns about grain dryers and moisture levels; Harvest Thanksgiving provided a comforting sense of seasonal closure and, yes, the opportunity to saying “thank you” for what had been achieved.

Despite this being a blog and not a sermon, I feel that we might all be happier and more contented with our lives if we would just take a moment to pause and be grateful… There is, after all, always someone considerably worse off than ourselves. Whatever our circumstances, I am certain that everyone reading this has at least something to be thankful for. At the very least, we have the ability to see to read these words–either with or without glasses or contact lenses.

At the London Vision Clinic´s Thanksgiving Celebration – held at the Dali Universe, County Hall Gallery, Riverside – Dr Dan’s speech got me thinking…

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