Archbishop Leo Cushley, recalls a happy memory of Thanksgiving during his time in the US. Broadcast this morning (28 November) on BBC Radio Scotland's Thought for the Day.
"After about one o’clock this afternoon, I’ll start getting emails and e-cards from various pals of mine in America, wishing me – that’s right – a Happy Thanksgiving!
"I enjoy receiving these greetings because I happened to have the great good fortune to have lived in the States for three years.
"I worked in New York, and as my first Thanksgiving approached, I was looking forward to couple of days off. Then out of the blue I received an invitation from a family I barely knew to come and join them for thanksgiving. I accepted the kind invitation and – in spite of being almost a stranger to them – they made me very welcome.
"In fact, for all three years I was in the States, they invited me over, without fail, for Thanksgiving, and they have since become firm friends of mine.
"Thanksgiving is said to have started when early English settlers wanted to give gratitude to God for the safe arrival of their boats to America. A competing claim is that pilgrims, grateful for a good harvest, celebrated with Native Americans who had helped them through a time of scarcity.
"In any case, what I saw was a moment for giving thanks for many good things received throughout the year. And the second thing I found was that it was the moment for many families to get together - for some even more important than Christmas is to us - and in a country the size of the United States, a family gathering like that, even once a year, can be a major undertaking.
"These are lessons that have stayed with me. That our cousins in America find time to cross their huge country to get together as families remains a very happy memory for me. And that they do so to return thanks for their blessings is also something that I won’t forget.
"Everything that really matters to us usually comes from somewhere else: like life, love and happiness, and it’s only right that we should give thanks for them.
"So, Happy Thanksgiving!"