As we observed Thanksgiving Day this week, could anyone argue that a single day dedicated to giving thanks for all the blessings of this life is hardly adequate?
Our blessings are abundant and overflowing. We have the gifts of family, health, jobs and the opportunity to live in the greatest nation in the history of the world.
In a day when our political and social lives are often divided and polarized, giving thanks brings togetherness, for we all share the need and desire to give thanks for what we have.
As G.K. Chesterton told us, "When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."
James Brown put it very simply, "I just thank God for all of the blessings."
Thanksgiving Day itself, they told us in elementary school, dates back to 1621 when the Pilgrim settlers sat with their Native American friends to give thanks for the blessings of an abundant harvest and their shared friendship.
The truth is that there had been "thanksgiving services," a European tradition, in Jamestown Plantation of Virginia more than a decade before.
The Plymouth Plantation celebration in Massachusetts lasted several days. It was held somewhere between mid-September and late November. Their feasts resembled the fare we serve at our dinner tables today.
There wasn't much "official" observance of Thanksgiving Day for more than a century thereafter, although the Continental Congress did proclaim several days of thanksgiving during the Revolutionary War.
While they were sitting in York, Pa., they issued the first national proclamation of Thanksgiving in 1777.
In the early days of the Republic, several presidents, George Washington included, declared one-time Thanksgiving Days.
It was three quarters of a century, though, until Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday. Abraham Lincoln accomplished that in 1863.
Another three quarters of a century passed until the date of the Thanksgiving Holiday was fixed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress two years later as being the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving memories center on family, friends, feasts and football.
For Pennsylvania's football fans, who can't be thankful for a realistic shot at an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl? As the traditional Thanksgiving Day games kick off, the Eagles and the Steelers boast the two best records in the NFL.
For all the turbulence in the NFL this season, and for good reasons to tune out the league this year, who doesn't get just a little tinge of excitement over the prospects of the green and black taking on the black and gold?
These two franchises have quite a history. Sure our friends to the west already have a fistful of rings while my hometown crew is still looking for one. But think about two teams from the state, once synonymous with the sport itself, facing off in the championship.
The history itself is staggering.
From the franchise swap of Bert Bell and Art Rooney to the "Steagles" merger there's a connection unparalleled in sports. There's also an amazing divide between the two cities and their fan bases.
Can you imagine the trash talking that would take place during the two weeks between the conference championships and the finale? It would be epic.
A decade and a half ago it almost happened. On Jan. 27, 2001 both the Eagles and the Steelers played for their respective conference championships and the right to face each other.
They both lost. Hearts throughout the commonwealth were broken.
Three years later, there was another shot at it.
On Jan. 23, 2004, the Steelers lost their rematch with New England and with it the right to face the Eagles in the Super Bowl. The Birds beat Atlanta that day, but followed the Steelers fate with New England in the Super Bowl.
Of course Thanksgiving Day is about much more than a spectator sport. The scriptures compel us to give thanks and common sense tells us of its value. At a time when much divides us, giving thanks for what unites us is all the more important.
Togetherness and gratitude are the elements of thanksgiving. But there's much more. The words of John F. Kennedy's final Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, which he didn't live to see observed, summarize things well, "As we express gratitude we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.