When folks sit down across the United States to share the Thanksgiving Day dinner on the fourth Thursday of November, the occasion may be a mix of merriment and memories. Hosts and guests frequently discuss thankfulness, recounting specific or general ways their lives have been blessed.
Although American writer O. Henry said, “Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American,” not all of these thankful quotations have their origins in the US. Still, these pithy statements seem somehow appropriate for this occasion of appreciation.
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Here are 25 quotations for Thanksgiving thoughtfulness.
Consider these popular or well-known statements on thankfulness, issued by a host of famous speakers, both religious and secular and both ancient and modern. Some of these quotes are lighthearted, while others are more ponderous. For easy reference, these quotations on gratitude are arranged alphabetically, by attributed speaker.
- Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. (Aesop)
- Love casts out fear, and gratitude can conquer pride. (Louisa May Alcott)
- Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good. (Maya Angelou)
- The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. (William Blake)
- In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
- On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence. (William Jennings Bryan)
- hen it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. (G.K. Chesterton)
- A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
- Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. (Epicurus)
- O, Thou Who has given us so much, mercifully grant us one more thing: a grateful heart. (George Herbert)
- If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. (James Herriot)
- To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do. (Victor Hugo)
- It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me…if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me. (Helen Keller)
- As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)
- An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. (Irv Kupcinet)
- Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. (Theodore Roosevelt)
- Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart. (Seneca)
- Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness. (William Shakespeare)
- He who does not reflect his life back to God in gratitude does not know himself. (Albert Schweitzer)
- If you think Independence Day is America’s defining holiday, think again. Thanksgiving deserves that title, hands-down. (Tony Snow)
- Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. (William Arthur Ward)
- Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life. Each year has grown better than the last. (Lawrence Welk)
- We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. (Thornton Wilder)
- All that we behold is full of blessings. (William Wordsworth)
Perhaps one or two of these quotations on gratefulness will spark interesting discussion at the family table for Thanksgiving dinner.