Thanksgiving has always been about being thankful for what you have. Even before it was set as an official holiday, it was a centuries-old tradition to have a feast celebrating a good harvest, victory in battle, or some other momentous occasion.
The custom of celebratory feasts is almost as old as civilization itself. For most of our history, we’ve depended on good harvests to get us through tough times. Winter, famine, war, upheaval – people have long worked hard to “get ahead” of the adversity life always throws our way. These days, of course, most of us don’t have to worry so much about things like starvation. Yet the idea of “Thanksgiving” is still as important as ever.
All of us still face setbacks and obstacles, adversity and hardship. Giving thanks for what we have – for whatever good fortune we’ve enjoyed this year – helps strengthen our resolve to deal with today’s challenges and tomorrow’s trials. I think that’s why Thanksgiving has evolved from being a harvest celebration to something much grander.
It’s a celebration of life.
But what about all those who have no good fortune to celebrate?
One of the best things about Thanksgiving – both now and in the past – is that it’s also been a time for ensuring those less fortunate than us have something to celebrate as well. Even in medieval times, thanksgiving feasts gave much needed respite for beggars, debtors, widows, orphans, and all those who could not provide for themselves.
In the modern age, record numbers of people volunteer food and time to ensure others can eat. Even the President of the United States will traditionally serve a thanksgiving meal to those who can’t enjoy a feast with their families, like the members of our armed forces.
So, this Thanksgiving, please join with me in looking back on our good fortune, not just this year, but in all the years stretching back to the beginning of history. Join me in giving thanks that we have each other to build a world that makes almost every year better than the one before.
On behalf of all us of here at Research Financial Strategies, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!