Although every day should be a day of thanksgiving to God, nevertheless, since today is considered a thanksgiving holiday, where we sit down and take time to actually thank God for His blessings , it is a good holiday to observe.  Thankfulness, gratefulness, is a very important part of life. If we are unable to appreciate our blessings , we can never be truly happy. When people are dissatisfied in life or apathetic or even depressed, it often is connected to a lack of true appreciation. We concentrate on the negative rather than the positive. Thanking God is a way of bringing things back into perspective.

Sure, people have challenges, struggles, anxieties, worries, fears and many things to feel sad or disheartened about.  But each person has plenty of things to be thankful for as well.  Nothing should be taken for granted. That is why , in Judaism, the first thing we do every morning, as soon as we wake up, is to say a special prayer  called Modeh Ani, thanking God for restoring our souls to us and granting us another day to serve Him.  Thanking is the first thing we do upon awakening. That shows you the importance of being grateful.   If we truly think of all our blessings, and we truly sit down and begin thanking God for every single thing we have, we suddenly will find that we feel ashamed to be upset and complain about what we don’t have. It helps us handle our challenges with more humility and with more hopefulness.  When we become aware of all the good, we do not look so much at the negative things. We are able to balance our thoughts and emotions better.  We can see the cup half full rather than half empty.

Even if we feel it is difficult to thank God for the good we have, we can still take time to thank Him for all the negative things we do NOT have.  We can start by thanking Him for all the problems He did not decree upon us. And from there we can move on to actually thank Him for the blessings. And, eventually, we can reach a level of even thanking Him for our challenges, because through them we grow spiritually (even though, of course , a person never asks for difficulties: we ask for open revealed good). And as a person accepts their challenges with joy, God will change things so that the person can see the good and have revealed good.  

Serving God with joy can only come when we are able to be thankful and grateful.  It is all connected.

It is interesting that in Hebrew, the word for turkey is hodu. Hodu means praising God. So it is by Divine Providence that turkey became the food associated with the holiday of thanksgiving.