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Being grateful before the holiday is a tradition that can unite Americans from all walks of life

Posted at 6:48 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 19:48:04-05

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (NBC 26) - As families prepare for their Thanksgiving day gathering by getting their fixings just right and thawing turkeys there is one more box they should consider checking before their guests arrive, knowing what they're grateful for.

Thanksgiving gatherings are a unique opportunity for Americans from all walks of life to come together and show thanks."We have so much freedom of choice, of religion, of expression here in this country. That's not something to take for granted. My perspective is there is a lot more that unites faiths than divides faiths and one of those great uniters is being grateful," says Rabbi Steigmann.

"It's about being able to see things that we would otherwise overlook," says Thomas Bolin a Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at St. Norbert College.

"Gratitude is absolutely a universal language," says Michael Baltutis an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at UW-Oshkosh.

"The reality that everything we have is a gift," adds Rabbi Moishe Steigmann of Green Bay's Cnesses Israel Temple.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, NBC26 chatted with local college professors who study Christianity and eastern religions, along with a Green Bay rabbi to find out how beneficial showing gratitude can be before you start your holiday meal on Thursday.

"You want to share that feeling with other people. So being aware of what you're grateful for gives you greater strength and ability to show love and kindness to others," says Bolin.

Gratitude is often highlighted in religions as a core value of their faith. But regardless of whether or not your family recognizes a higher power, the act of showing thankfulness is a universal trait used by societies that last.

"In expressing gratitude, we express humility for the things we cannot do by ourselves, and in doing so we create and build community," says Baltutis.

So as the last-minute turkey day preparations are made and we collectively race to make sure everything is ready for our gatherings keep in mind that by showing each other what we're most grateful for we collectively could be contributing to a tradition that ties all of our American cultures together.