In Honor of Thanksgiving
To take a brief break from the poisonous dose of divisiveness and controversy that has become the norm in our contemporary society and infuses our lives with anger and frustration, I decided, in honor of Thanksgiving, to write about a subject that transcends controversy—gratitude. Who in their right mind can say anything negative about appreciation and thankfulness? Well, more than I could have imagined.
Apparently, people oppose the concept of Thanksgiving for religious, political, and psychological reasons. I was not convinced by any of their arguments, but during my reading on the subject I discovered the incredible story of Blamesgiving and thought that you might want to share it with your friends and family during Thanksgiving.
In 1931, 200 atheists gathered in a hall near Grace Church, in New York City, for what they proclaimed to be the First Annual Blamesgiving Service. A protest sermon explained the purpose of Blamesgiving: “While others are expressing their gratefulness for the good things of the past year, there can be no harm in making a similar list of things that were not so good.” It was organized as a mockery of a church service, with an “opening prayer of protest,” a “scripture reading,” and then the singing of a “hymn” called “The Modern Doxology.” Some choice verses:
Blame God from whom all cyclones blow,
Blame him when rivers overflow,
Blame him who swirls down house and steeple,
Who sinks the ship and drowns the people.
Blame God when fell tornadoes spread
Disaster, leaving maimed and dead;
When dread volcanoes vomit death,
Destroying towns with liquid breath.
While the practice of Blamesgiving didn’t survive beyond its inaugural year, its spirit, unfortunately, is still prevalent among us. To offset the bitterness that stems from it, I would like to offer a poem by the Irish poet John O’Donohue who, despite his short life, left us with a treasure of blessings. This poem below was taken from his book
“To Bless the Space Between Us”.
On Waking by John O’Donohue
I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life,
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.
My family and I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving full of gratefulness and appreciation.