A Time to Give Thanks


KentuckyOne Health Remaining Operations

By John Brothers, Division Vice President, Mission Integration

John Brothers, Division Vice President,
Mission Integration

Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite holidays, celebrated with parades, football, family and great food. Family traditions have grown up around the holiday as they revere the many things for which they are grateful.

One tradition honored during the Thanksgiving holiday is to give to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Thanksgiving, from its earliest practices, was a time for people to share in the bounty of the harvest. Early Native Americans shared their abundance with the settlers who were not prepared for their first winter in the new world. Today, we collect and distribute food for those who are in need. In the Gospel of Luke, it states “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” As people of faith (all faiths) and people of good will, we are expected to provide for the needs of those who are less fortunate. In addition to giving of food or money, we can give our time and presence to others by assisting someone with a project or task or by easing the burden of loneliness.

Another tradition that has become popular in the last 50 years is the presidential pardon of a turkey. While the origins of this ceremony are disputed, it has been the practice of many past presidents, most likely beginning with Abraham Lincoln, to grant a gifted turkey clemency, freeing the turkey from being consumed. The ceremony is now an annual event held by the White House whereby the president, in a televised event, pardons a turkey. To witness this event, one might find it a bit odd, but there may be a much deeper meaning to explore.

At this time in our country, there is great political polarization expressed between friends, families, neighbors and countrymen creating an environment of misunderstanding and mistrust. Maybe we should spend this holiday time granting each other clemency by accepting differences without judgement, or by disagreeing with someone’s beliefs without demoralizing the person. Synonyms for clemency include mercy, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and kindness. We are a country with much for which to be thankful, and our differences add to our richness.

In our health care ministry, we are thankful for the gifts and talents of each of the people with whom we are honored to work. We have a unique opportunity to treat our patients and their families with compassion and kindness as we extend the spirit of Thanksgiving to those we are entrusted to serve. Spend time during this holiday season reaching out to those in need and share your abundance with others. Also take time during your day to call to mind the things for which you are thankful. Often we focus on what we do not have instead of being grateful for that which we do have.

Create new traditions or enjoy what is familiar, but throughout the season, find time to serve others and be thankful for all that you have received because of someone’s service, kindness or compassion extended to you.