Giving thanks or gobbling turkey?

By David Joel Miller

What motivates you today on this launch of the Holiday season?

Grateful to be alive

Grateful to be alive
Photo courtesy of Flickr ( leewrightonflickr)

Some people used to call this next month the Christmas season, now it is a pure electronics consumer feast. So before your rush off to capture and kill the latest i-creature, let’s consider what Thanksgiving is and whether we are really thankful for what we have or are we just craving more?

Thanksgiving is, according to the Century Dictionary of 1891:

1. The act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors, benefits or mercies. An acknowledgment of benefits received. It cites an older Biblical use of the word to mean acknowledgment by offering.

The illustrative text for this?

Every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.       1 Tim. iv 4.

2. A public celebration of divine goodness; specifically in the United States.

3. A form of words expressive of thanks to God; a grace.

The first U. S. celebration – 1621 in Plymouth by the Pilgrims and Strangers. (See the book Saints and Strangers by Willison.)  Saints and Strangers, Being the Lives of the Pilgrim Fathers and Their Families

My fun old book, The Century Dictionary, also includes a definition for a “thanksgiver” who is defined as:

One who gives thanks, or acknowledges a benefit, a kindness, or a mercy.

I realize my old Century Dictionary is now a dinosaur, full of words that are no longer in use. Despite the fact that each of the six volumes weighs more than my tower computer and my laptop put together, I still find comfort in knowing that there are good old words there, just waiting for another chance to be used by humans.

So on this day, with its historical connections, I just wonder if some of us could spend some time thinking about what we are thankful for and are we thanksgivers before we all rush off to celebrate the Black Friday and the Cyber Monday festivities?

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at

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