Thanksgiving really means giving thanks

Wow! Where did the summer go? It seems as soon as the Halloween season showed up on store shelves, so did Christmas. In some stores Christmas showed up before the Halloween items did! Well, Halloween’s over and so the frenzy begins. What happened to Thanksgiving? I personally really like this holiday. Don’t rush the season. Commercially, I know it’s not a big profit day for retail establishments, but it can be for our soul/spirit. Can’t we have one holiday that makes us just feel good inside? We need to stop and give thanks every day, for all things; but sadly that doesn’t happen in all homes. Ephesians 5:20 says “Giving thanks for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Psalms 95:2 states “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”

Thanksgiving should be a time to take stock of our lives, a time for reflecting on the past year. What are you most thankful for? Is it a material thing, a spiritual thing? It’s a good time to inventory our lives and make changes for the better. For instance, if you are reading this article, be thankful that you have sight; if you were able to get out of bed this morning, be thankful that you are alive. You get the picture here, right? The upcoming holidays can be sad for some people. Please vow right now that you will not be one of these people. If you start to feel sorry for yourself, visit a hospital, nursing home, help at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Theodore Roosevelt once said “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.” As I reflect upon my own past, I recall a sad a time in my life when I was alone on Thanksgiving. Going through a difficult divorce, I found myself moving to a new apartment on Thanksgiving Day. Alone and sad my meal consisted of a hot dog and cold pork and beans. I remember asking God for help and guidance, I felt so worthless. Of course, I didn’t know then that someday I would make my life’s story into a book. I had no clue that one day I would be able to help others because of going through these hardships.

The Thanksgiving holiday falls on the fourth Thursday of November. A few facts you may or may not know are: 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving parade was in 1920, organized by Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia. Macy’s first parade was in 1924. Football games are a big deal for Thanksgiving Day. It’s the busiest travel day of the year. The pardoning of a gift turkey by the President of the U.S. in a ceremony at the White House allows a turkey to live out his life on a farm.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Great quote. Another one on this topic is by Johannes A. Gaertner, art professor, “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” If you really think about it, we have many, many things to be thankful for. I believe this holiday is a wonderful time to think upon these things. Ralph Waldo Emerson penned these words about what to be thankful for. “For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”

So during this Thanksgiving holiday, let us all give thanks for whatever it is that we have in our individual lives: our Lord and Saviour, family, friends, health, wealth, the list goes on. Don’t take these things for granted. After all, God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you”? May God richly bless you during this holiday season.