Take a Moment to be Thankful
It is that time of year again. Leaves that turned to shades of yellow and red have fallen to the sidewalks, and begun to resemble the Wizard of OZ (yellow brick road anyone?) leaving the trees bare. The air has not just the crisp smell of fall, but the cold sting of winter approaching. The season we welcomed with our leather boots, tartan scarves and pumpkin spice devoted Instagram accounts seems to be moving on without us. We officially have a month left until our (maybe just my) favorite season comes to a close, but if you are like me fall truly ends with thanksgiving. The day after thanksgiving is the day the Christmas decorations go up, I switch out my pumpkin spice candle for the freshly backed Christmas cookies scent and I switch to my Christmas music station on Pandora. Stores have already had these things up sense Halloween, and I feel like in the rush towards the Holliday of joy and giving, we forget something along the way.
Thanksgiving is approaching and while sometimes snuffed out by the giant signs for Christmas deals, it should get its just desert. Before we flood our loved one’s inboxes with our Christmas wishes, and empty out wallets on gifts, shouldn’t we take a moment to be thankful for our ability to do this? Before Friday at midnight when the beasts come out and stampede department stores should we at least reflect on the fact that we are lucky enough to live in a country that can devote an entire day to shopping? Shouldn’t we at least spend some time preparing our hearts for the season of giving (and receiving) with a season of thankfulness? In a culture that typically is focused on the bad things that will create the next media sensation, it might be hard to pick out what we as a country have to be thankful. So let me list out a few things for you.
Wealth: I recently read an article discussing this very topic. It mentioned that the Cato Institute recently revealed that if you make over $32,400 per year, you are in the top 1% of richest people in the world. Other (older) sources put that figure at about $34,000. Living in this country increases your odds of being in that 1%: Americans make up about 50% of the global 1% and 70% of the American population falls into this category. The opportunity provided by living in the United States should create a deep sense of pride and thankfulness.
Freedom of Religion: As a country founded on this principle we should feel blessed that our right to have a choice in what we believe is guaranteed by the Constitution. Falling in line with freedom of religion is freedom of speech, and the right to assembly. As US citizens we have the ability to publicly voice what we believe, feel, and think. We also are promised the right to gather peacefully to demonstrate our views or simply just to meet with private club. We are given the right to speak to the government against things we don’t like, and have a chance to change those things. Americans should be thankful for these freedoms recognized as a right and guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Security: While it may seem that we hear about a new tragedy every day US citizens are of the safest in the world. America’s top 5 cities for homicides still come in under the top ten in the world, according to a report on the criminal justice degree hub.
Social Media: You might think I am joking, maybe this is just the millennial in me, but now more than ever before the people are truly given the loudest voice. Anyone can get their message out to the world. The internet gave us access to a world of information at our fingertips but social media gives us the voice. While there is a down side to social media, if you are smart in what you post it can be an incredible resource.
As we begin to close in on this season of thanks, I want to encourage you to take a moment amongst the hustle and bustle of the holidays and think about what you have. What you have as an individual, a family, a community and a nation for which to be thankful.