Defending the Faith: Thanksgiving is for reflection, not just eating

Published: Thursday, Nov. 28 2013 7:00 a.m. MST

On this Thanksgiving Day, accordingly, it is worthwhile to recall that the English verb “to thank” derives from the same root as the verb “to think.” (Compare the equivalent German words “danken” and “denken.”) With all the busyness and the rush of the day, we should still try to find time to reflect.

Thanksgiving isn’t about eating. It isn’t even, really, about spending time with family and friends, important as those are. It is, or should be, about thinking, about contemplation. From its very origin, it was about considering the debt that we owe to God and to the others who laid the foundation of the blessings and prosperity that we enjoy, about reflecting, repenting and seeking to extend those blessings to others.

Daniel Peterson teaches Arabic studies, founded BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, directs, chairs, blogs daily at, and speaks only for himself.

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