The Spirit of Thanksgiving
By Brenton Bickerstaff

On November 20, 1938, Edgar Cayce was asked to give a reading for Study Group #1 to give them a greater appreciation of the true spirit of Thanksgiving. It was a challenging time, with different issues including a looming war. The world was filled with hatred, fear, and uncertainty. I’d like to paraphrase the text of Reading 3976-21. Although Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to the American spirit, the idea of giving thanks is a universal theme celebrated the world over, transcending social and cultural boundaries. My hope is that it will fill you with inspiration and a deeper appreciation of Thanksgiving.

asfg group one
Members of the first A Search for God group

The reading began with the importance of finding a daily appreciation of life itself, the ebb and flow, the opportunities for spiritual growth offered to us through our interaction with all those we meet. Cayce stated that the Creative Forces, often referred to as God, are in constant motion, working through us to facilitate a deeper appreciation of all things.

He reminds the group to remember and honor the lives and experiences of the special group of souls who refused to waver in their purpose and ideals of establishing a nation built upon equality and freedom. Those colonists who first shared land with the local natives were constantly reminded not to just be thankful on days of plenty, but also the importance of remaining thankful in times when in each moment they were given only what was sufficient for that day. In those trying times, it was essential that they remember to give thanks for all the joys, the sorrows, the disappointments, and the hopes for the future.

Cayce reminds us that we are the torch bearers, the chosen ones to carry on the American spirit by working together for peace. We are encouraged to give thanks for our differences, and find strength in our diversity. We are a global family with a shared ideal of unity, cooperation, and mutual respect. This idea of Thanksgiving must be in the mind and heart of each soul, as we respect all of our unique paths and embrace opportunities to support each other. It is not by judging and condemning our political leaders that we will find our answers, but rather in daily Thanksgiving for the opportunity to participate in the process that helps create and evolve an ideal-driven experiment that is the United States of America.

Pumpkin Pie 

In this great country, we are given opportunities—ones not afforded to much of the world—to put into practice the ideals our country was initially founded upon. This is the true spirit of Thanksgiving: to give thanks for the chance to lift the spirits of those around us who have lost focus, and those who have become unappreciative of our opportunities and the basic freedoms we enjoy. Thanksgiving is a reminder that every day is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to an ideal-driven life full of purpose and passion; a day to remind us to see the living God in all that we encounter on our path. A day when each of us may give thanks for simply being alive!

As we give thanks—in the spirit of love, truth, patience, and compassion—we will receive the gift of greater awareness and understanding. Our lives will fill with the fruits of our labor, wisdom, and depth of clarity in our purpose for being alive now. Synchronicities will provide guidance and light our path.

Cayce reminds us of the ideals established in the early days of the American colonies: “In this land you may give praise for freedom of speech, for the opportunities to raise your voice in whatever way and manner you choose…Then, as you give thanks, as you give praise to your friends for kindnesses, for gentleness, for those things that make your experience more bearable in a cruel world… Let your heart then be glad.” (From reading 3976-21)

Far too often, I find myself forgetting to appreciate the basic human rights acknowledged in our country’s constitution. I always have to take a step back and extend my heartfelt prayers to all those at home and around the globe suffering from oppression, discrimination, and inequality—as I also remember to forgive myself for any oppressive acts and remain open-minded and of service to all who are in need. I also want to give thanks to all those who selflessly step in to protect the many freedoms we enjoy in our beautiful nation; all the servicemen and women who work tirelessly to protect our basic rights. As individuals, we may label ourselves insignificant, but this could not be further from the truth. As we bring change in the hearts of individuals, we enact change on a large scale.

thankful family  

I strive daily to maintain an attitude of gratitude—thankful for the blessings received, but also thankful for the struggles I encounter, for these are opportunities to grow in depth of awareness. Only by applying what we have learned can we find deeper meaning in life and strengthen our purpose, opening ourselves to a life of greater love and compassion.

Let each raise his voice in Thanksgiving for all that has, that may come to pass in the experience of each soul that prays, "Your will, O God, be done in me—now. Not as I will, but as You would have me go."

Brenton Bickerstaff radio 2014Brenton Bickerstaff is the host of Reflections: The Wisdom of Edgar Cayce internet television and radio talk show. He moved to Virginia Beach from Florida to work with Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. in 2012. He has been a student of the Edgar Cayce readings as well as other metaphysical and esoteric wisdom teachings since he was a teenager, with a special interest in educating and empowering teens and young adults to find their spiritual path.