|Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:20 AM|
Thanksgiving in the United States is a holiday that began long ago as a harvest festival. Eventually, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” and it became an official holiday. For years it was an important day to gather at church and with family, to give thanks for blessings received throughout the year.
Today, although we can still find images of turkeys, cornucopias and pilgrims, the store aisles of Thanksgiving merchandise are dwarfed by the gigantic Christmas displays which have been set up even before Halloween is over. Many people now see Thanksgiving Day as merely a day off from work when they can get an early start on their Christmas shopping.
So whatever happened to the “Giving Thanks” part of Thanksgiving? I don’t know. Some people say that today there is nothing to give thanks for. It is true that our world is experiencing wars, natural disasters, illnesses and famines. One needs only to look at the daily paper or the nighttime news to see it.
But I think there is still plenty we can give thanks for, if we look hard enough. Maybe you struggled with a dysfunctional family at one point, but you can look back and see that there were one or two special people who were there for you when you needed them. Perhaps you have lived through several days or weeks when you were hungry, but today you have enough food to put on your table. Maybe you are currently unemployed, but you still have a decent home to live in. Perhaps you can give thanks that you have a warm winter coat and boots to ward off the wintery chill.
This weekend I will not be shopping. I will be spending time with family members, and I will be giving thanks for the blessings that I have received. I am thankful for each one of the members of my family, both living and deceased, all of whom have played an important role in my life. I give thanks for good friends who I know I can count on when the going gets tough. I am thankful that I have a decent home, adequate clothing and enough food. I give thanks that God has given me the gift of writing, and I hope I can use it effectively to praise Him and help others. I even am thankful for the many challenges which have strengthened my faith and facilitated my growth into a better person.
I hope that this week you will spend some time looking for the blessings in your life and giving thanks. You do have many blessings, probably many more than you realize, and I’ll even bet that you will be receiving many more blessings over the remainder of your life. What are you giving thanks for this year?
Thanks and blessings to you this Thanksgiving week!