Thanksgiving is a time to have gratitude — but it is much more than sharing a meal

Thanksgiving is a time to have gratitude — but it is much more than sharing a meal

On Thanksgiving, we speak about gratitude, but what do we really understand about it? Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, coupled with a readiness to show appreciation for, and to return kindness to, another person. In my mind, “returning kindness to another person” is the big fail for most people celebrating Thanksgiving, when on this day alone, more than 45 million innocent turkeys are sacrificed at the dining table. You may counter, “But a turkey is not a person.” Ok, so let’s look at what it means to be a “person.” The wiki dictionary puts it this way: A person is a being, such as a human, that has certain capacities or attributes constituting personhood, which in turn is defined differently by different authors in different disciplines, and by different cultures in different times and places. It clearly states: “a being, such as a human…” It does not say, a person is a human. The author of the definition then goes on to dilute the meaning further by saying that a “person” is defined differently by people according to time and place. Convenient but not helpful. The Latin word persona was originally used to denote the mask worn by an actor. From this, it was applied to the role they assumed, and, finally, to any character on the stage of life, to any individual. The classic definition is that given by Boethius in “De persona et duabus naturis”, c. ii: Naturæ rationalis individua substantia (an individual substance of a rational nature). A turkey is certainly an individual substance of a rational nature. And as the Latin persona indicates, a turkey body is a type of “mask” for the soul within. Granted, the people that eat all those birds don’t recognize turkeys to be sentient beings worthy of respect. And therein lies the […]