In a Land without Thanksgiving
Today, as many Americans gather with family and friends around a dinner table to partake in the traditional late November Thanksgiving feast, I find myself in a country that does not celebrate a similar national holiday. From its North American origins, the idea of an official Thanksgiving holiday never spread to mainland Australia. Yet, even though I miss the traditions of the holiday as I stay in a land that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I still find myself having a lot to be thankful for:
- Support from Family and Friends. I am grateful for the encouragement to travel that I have received—and continue to receive—from those at home. But I also realize that there are people out there who are lonely this holiday season or who don’t receive support from others. May we reach out to those who are alone.
- The Ability to Travel Freely. I am thankful for the ability to freely and easily travel internationally without fear of danger, and I’m also thankful that people from other nations are able to travel so as to create cultural interchange and understanding among different nationalities. But I realize that there are people in the world who can’t freely travel from or within their own country, or refugees who are forced to travel from their homes, or people whose safety in daily life remains uncertain. May we create a global society that encourages travel and cultural exchange, embraces refugees, condemns violence and hatred, and is understanding of other cultures.
- The Financial Security to Delay Employment. I am thankful that I was able to have employment throughout the duration of my education, allowing me to save money and create the financial security that allows me to delay future employment and travel instead of working. But I realize that many people today remain financially insecure, cannot find a job, or cannot afford the luxury to not work. May we create a civic society where any worker can get paid a fair living wage, social welfare looks after those who are disadvantaged, and the youngest generation is not burdened by educational debt.
With today’s traditions of thanks and gratitude, take a moment to reflect on the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Also consider how we might craft a society where more people will have more to be thankful for in the Thanksgivings to come.