Quotes, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: What We Celebrate

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

These weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (for those of us in the United States) are a great time to consider gratitude. In these shorter posts, let’s explore some quotes about gratitude and see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming holiday season.


Times have changed since the day the Pilgrims stepped foot on unfamiliar soil. Many died on the journey from Europe to what would become America. Those who made it barely survived those first couple of winters. And yet, their hearts were set on something much greater than survival.

Their minds focused on sustaining their community, but they were not consumed by the thought of how much could they prosper here.

These men and women chose a dangerous voyage with one hope—freedom to worship God in honesty and without persecution.

We all know the story . . . when the pilgrims settled in their new homeland, they prepared a feast celebrating how God cared for them. They thanked Him for His provision and His love for them.

How far we have strayed from that focus. Today, the meaning behind Thanksgiving too often defaults to focusing on turkey feasts, football, and Black Friday (or Grey November, as some have called it).

How many of us forget to be intentional about taking time to worship God on the fourth Thursday of November? Do we remember to thank Him for who He is? For the abundance He’s given us?

I’m the first to admit it’s easy to get caught up in preparing the food, driving to see family, and enjoying being together.

And yes, football plays in the background.

Maybe this Thanksgiving, we can each take time to remember—really meditate on—what we’re celebrating. Because we are those “unborn generations” Harry Moyle Tippett referenced.

We are the ones for whom our forefathers sacrificed everything . . . so we might worship God in freedom.

***For those reading this who live in other countries, thanks for indulging my musings on our United States holiday!

What about you? How do you remember the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving? What is one family tradition you have?

Click to Tweet: We are the ones for whom our forefathers sacrificed everything

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth

16 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: What We Celebrate”

  1. Honestly, Jeanne, after a really horrid day like this one was, I’m just glad to be alive, and badass. I don’t think I could have made it through otherwise. It was – and still is – more vicious than I can describe. New territory, and I’ve run out of comparisons.

    But not out of jokes.

    Q: What kind of car would Jesus drive?
    A: A Chrysler Pacifica; it was Chrysler’s crossover vehicle, get it? 😀

    And how do we know God is Japanese?
    Well, how often have you heard the expression, “Oh, for God’s sake!”

    Yeah. Dreadful.

    We don’t do traditions, because they connect me to a past that was a lot brighter than the future is. Comparison’s a terrible thing, and it’s best just to live the days, one by one, without looking back.

    Hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


    1. Andrew, your jokes made me smile, but I admit. The second one IS a groaner. 😉 I’m so sorry things have been beyond horrible. I am continuing to pray for you, my friend. I’ve met some other people recently who aren’t fans of Thanksgiving because of the pain associated with their past holiday experiences. I agree with your philosophy of not giving in to comparison, but living each day as it comes. So thankful for you, friend!


  2. I’m always grateful for the American musings of the Thanksgiving Holiday! Family celebrations are so important, and I am grateful that my family, although not all live close by, are not estranged. So celebrating our freedom in our beautiful countries are even sweeter when we have peaceful community too.


    1. Lynn, family celebrations are important. You’re fortunate to have some family who live close by. And to not have estrangements within it. My family is all nearby. My hubs’ family is spread hither and yon, but we are intentional about getting together to celebrate family. Peaceful community . . . I like that.

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  3. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s so easy. Yes, cooking a turkey is a bit of work, but there is so much less stress on Thanksgiving than other holidays. Which is a great reason to be thankful, but we can also be thankful for so much more, and I love taking the time to remember that as well.


    1. Heather, I like Thanksgiving too. My kids love the food that goes with it (especially the breakfast pizza we have on Thanksgiving mornings). And I always buy a couple of turkeys to cook during the year. We have a lot to be thankful for in our family too. Do you have anything special you do to remember the good things from the year?

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  4. I love this, Jeanne. We need to be reminded of the Pilgrims’ sacrifice and their devotion to God. It’s so sad how commercialized America has become. Myself included. Thanksgiving blessings and hugs to you!


    1. Trudy, I agree. We do need to take time to remember the sacrifices the Pilgrims made for future generations. Our country has become commercialized. We try not to get sucked into it all. I hope that your Thanksgiving will hold laughter, remembering, and time with loved ones.

      Blessings and hugs back to you, my friend!

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  5. Thanksgiving says, “Family” to me. I’m so grateful for the family I have and the family I was raised in. I’m grateful the faith that was lived out in front of me as a child. I’m grateful for parents who were not above dropping to their knees at their bedside each evening and thanking God for the blessings of the day. I’m grateful for my brothers and sisters in Christ and I await the day when we will all express our thanks to God in heaven together. Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family Jeanne.


    1. Gene, I LOVE that so much of what you’re grateful for is PEOPLE. I’m with you. I am blessed with a great, if imperfect, family. God has placed people in my life who feed into, encourage, and lift me up. And, they give me the chance to return that. Won’t heaven be amazing?! I don’t know if I’ll be able to express words of gratitude, because I think I’m going to be overwhelmed with the awe of God’s presence and love.

      I hope your Thanksgiving is special and laughter-filled, Gene!


  6. When I was 8, my family moved from south Georgia “up north”. It was the year JFK was assassinated. Talk about culture shock. For several years, holidays were lonely and endured for our family of 5. It was hard to be thankful. Gradually our circle of friends and family grew, and with it gratitude for those around us. Early in mine and my sister’s married lives, that thanksgiving turned into commitment to keep our families close, and to always remember how the Lord has blessed us with those we love, and those who love us. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks, Jeanne, for allowing me into a corner of your world.


    1. Alice, as a military wife, my heart connects with your story. It always takes time to establish new connections after a move. I love how you share that gratitude grew as your circle of connections grew. And it’s beautiful that you and your sister made an intentional commitment to keep your families close. That’s a rare thing in this spread apart world. I’m so thankful God has allowed me to begin to get to know you this year. I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful and filled with laughter and joy!


  7. Your words make me want to guard our tradition of gratitude carefully for future generations. We have so much to be thankful for and to rejoice in!
    Blessings to you, Jeanne!


    1. Michele, I think we have to guard traditions of gratitude. In our culture, where the WIIFM concept has become increasingly more common, gratitude shrinks because people can be “all about themselves.” Our youngest gets so irritated when we list things we’re grateful for in our days. I keep praying his heart will one day see the beautiful impact gratitude has on our lives when we choose it.

      I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful, Michele!

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