In the United States, this is the week of the annual secular holiday Thanksgiving, coming up on Thursday the 22nd.
Originating with the Michaelmas harvest celebrations of England, the American Thanksgiving is rooted in the mythologizing of a harvest feast shared by colonizing “Pilgrims” in the New England region and Native people following a successful harvest in 1621.
Of course, within a short time, said colonists were massacring their Native neighbors, and the North American genocide was underway.
Given that capitalism turns everything it touches into something grotesque, the American holiday has become more of a celebration of gluttony and an often-problematic convening of family members who may not actually get along.
But if we dispense with that and contemplate the real meaning of the holiday, we come to Atheopagan Principle 3: Gratitude.
Through countless nearly random interactions, we are here. living this life in this marvelous, problematic world. We are alive! And too often, be it due to circumstances or culture or disposition, we do not embrace the gloriousness of this, of the simple fact that we are given the opportunity to live this precious life.
So whether or not you are celebrating this week, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the reasons you have for gratitude, and allow yourself to feel the warm glow of happiness that comes when we do so.
We all have challenges, true. It’s easy to focus all of our attention on them. But we mustn’t. We are alive, and blessed to be so. So take a little time for gratitude this week. It’s always a good idea.