It is not uncommon to compile wish lists at Christmas, and draw up a list of resolutions for New Years. But there is another list we often overlook: a Thanksgiving Day list of all for which we are thankful. Let me share part of the list that several housewives compiled. They wrote that they were especially thankful:
“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after dinner snacks.
“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.
“For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents
“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
“For smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.
Now our list might not be the same as theirs, but I’m convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions.
Like you, I’m sure my list would include the major things life, health, family, friends, and the nation we live in. Even more than that, I’m thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ, my church family, and the mercy that God showers upon us each day. With Jesus we have so much for which to celebrate on Thanksgiving!
Has it ever occurred to you though that no Americans were more underprivileged than that small handful from the Mayflower who started the custom of setting aside a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God?
They had no homes and no government agency to help them build homes. They had no means of transportation but their legs and maybe a horse. Their only food came from the sea and the forest, and they had to get it for themselves. They had no money and no place to spend it if they’d had any. They had no amusements except what they made for themselves, no means of communication with their relatives in England, no social security or Medicare.
Anyone who dared to call them underprivileged though would probably have ended up in the stocks, for they did have four of the greatest human assets: initiative, courage, a willingness to work, and a boundless faith in God. Our forefathers had “a boundless faith in God.” That almost sounds strange today in a time when powerful forces are at work in our nation to strip us of every reminder that the very foundation of our nation was built upon the conviction that we are “one nation, under God.”
Our hallowed “Declaration of Independence” proclaims, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . .” And it ends with these words, “. . .with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Thanksgiving Day is a distinctive holiday. It doesn’t commemorate a battle or anyone’s birthday or anniversary. It is simply a day set aside to express our thanks to our nation’s God. And one would assume that because of the example of our forefathers, and because today we have so much, that we would be an extremely thankful people. But it is often just the opposite, isn’t it? The more we get, the less thankful we become, the less mindful of God we are, and the more we want.
When we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, just look at some of the pictures of those dealing with the aftermath of Super storm Sandy in New York, New Jersey and northeast. Then we should offer a prayer for those who are hurting and a prayer of gratitude for God’s blessings. Like the psalmist we can pray, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2, NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”