Thanksgiving is this week! Wow, that does not seem possible, but I guess with the whirlwind pace of this fall anything is possible. I always marvel at the perfect timing of Thanksgiving for those of us in agriculture. It is right after harvest and gives us a time to stop and reflect on the many blessings in our lives. I guess I should not be surprised, this nation was agricultural at heart at the time when Thanksgiving started, and it’s too bad we seem to have forgotten that over the years.
I guess that goes right along with the current trends in society when it comes to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving used to be a day for just that, thanks giving. Not too long ago nearly every business, save a few restaurants, were closed. It was a foregone conclusion that on Thanksgiving you would spend the day with your family and nothing else. It was a day of family, giving thanks for all that you had and a feast. Somehow we seem to be losing all of that.
Black Friday started creeping into our vocabulary; stores started opening earlier and earlier on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Soon midnight on Friday wasn’t good enough and stores opened on our national holiday. We shouldn’t be surprised; our society seems to value over indulgence and a me-first attitude over family and appreciation for what we have. A great deal of this societal change can probably be attributed to not being tied as closely to agriculture.
Most of us in production agriculture have finished harvest. We are nearing the end of the year and starting to look at the year financially. Most of us are compiling that information for our accountants and we have a good idea of our income for the year. In the past we would have taken account of full haylofts, grain bins and livestock pens in preparation for the upcoming winter. In any case, the idea is the same, this is the time of the year that we can see what a year’s worth of hard labor has brought us.
I think it is much easier to be thankful when the bulk of your income comes in once a year. Hope starts in the late winter and spring when calving and lambing start and carries through planting season. Then we watch as the crops and livestock grow. Finally comes fall with harvest and weaning and a constant workload. Then, about Thanksgiving, fall work is complete and all of the harvest is laid out before us. Even in the poorest of years it is easy to be Thankful for all God has blessed us with.
Being a part of agriculture I know the sweat and sacrifice it took to bring the food to the table on Thanksgiving and I know it is a small reminder of how blessed I am throughout the year. I live in a country where, for most of us, food is not an issue, we have a safe home filled with many conveniences and we are safe to go about our daily lives. We are free to do what we want and worship where we want. We should want desire nothing more and we should find it easy to spend a whole day giving thanks.
However, I think many of us are too far away from agriculture and harvest that we have lost perspective on just how blessed we really are. Our paychecks show up in the bank every two weeks, we really have anything we want and we have never gone without any of the basic necessities of life. That is why we worry more about shopping and bargains than being thankful for what we already have and spending time with our families.
Am I saying that all of the Christmas Shopping hype, Black Friday and even the Thanksgiving Day store openings are a bad thing, maybe? That is another topic for another day. My point is that we all need to stop, look around and give thanks for all of the many blessings we have in our daily lives. We need to be thankful for the family we spend the day with and not worry about any outside distractions. Each of us have been blessed far beyond what we deserve. That is why, on this Thanksgiving, I am eternally thankful.