Several years ago, I was out of the country on Thanksgiving Day. I realized that most of our holidays are shared with other nations in the world, but Thanksgiving and Independence Day (July 4) are uniquely American. The traditional Thanksgiving meal just doesn’t taste the same across the ocean!

Although the dinner is often the focus of the Thanksgiving gathering, our traditions of football and shopping also become expected on this special day.

Many organizations reach out to the homeless or the poor to provide a meal to those in need on this day. May God bless every effort that feeds a hungry person this year. Most of us will have some place to go for a special gathering and a meal, even if we eat with strangers. Such a meal will be served at Canton First United Methodist Church on Nov. 28.

One of my fondest memories of Thanksgiving was over 60 years ago. We were away from our families and had not made specific plans. We had very recently moved into a new community. Our children were small, and we thought we would have our own private time. However, as we got to know our neighbors and ask them about their plans, several of them were also going to be alone. My wife suggested we invite them to our house. It turned out we had a very special Thanksgiving “potluck” that day. We got to know our neighbors better. Each of them brought a dish to share, and we created a fun time with each other.

That’s only one of the special memories I have, but it occurs to me that reaching out to those around us, whether they are in need or just close by, changes the day. It expands our sense of sharing and blesses us in the process. A simple act of caring brings new insights into our occasions.

If caring can change one day of the year, why not allow that feeling to be translated into the rest of the year? Gratitude can change our attitude! If every day can begin with a prayer which says, “Thank you, Lord, for … (fill in the blank),” I believe the day will be good.

Let’s try being thankful all year long … one day at a time!

Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as president of the International Family Foundation, Inc. and is a resident of Canton. He has just released his fifteenth book, “LIVING WITHOUT LIMITS – Power Ideas for Positive Living,” now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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