By now, your Thanksgiving preparations are probably well underway… turkey thawing, pies baking, EVERY square inch of your pantry, refrigerator and counters filled to overflowing with feast fixin’s! Surveying the bounty definitely makes it easier to be thankful as we approach the “big day” this Thursday. We plan, we prep, we gorge, we collapse – sound about right? And a lot of folks DO take a brief moment, while gathered around a heavily-laden table with family and friends, to maybe give thanks for something in our lives. But, in the comfort of our homes surrounded by an almost-obscene amount of food, safe amongst our loved ones, it shouldn’t be TOO hard to find “something” to be thankful for!
The REAL trick is to remember this thankfulness the other 364 days of the year. Sadly, once the food has been eaten, the leftovers either sent home with guests or stored away, and post-feast naps taken, our “thanks” head out the front door like a visitor who’s over-stayed their welcome. These days, we so quickly move on to the “fun” Thanksgiving highlights: football and shopping… tucking away our pious thankfulness until next year!
Yet, we have SOOOOO much to give thanks for every day. How shallow are our depths of faith, hope, gratitude, when we can’t appreciate the bounty we enjoy each day? Consider this observation from author H.U. Westermayer:
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
These brave Pilgrims faced hardships, loss, fears – WILLINGLY and with THANKS – simply in hope of a better life, in pursuit of freedom. Those elusive ideas have driven mankind for thousands of years. And, unfortunately, it seems once we attain these goals, we somehow forget to be thankful. Imagine setting off in a decrepit, leaky boat, leaving their entire lives behind, risking life and limb… all for freedom. What means that much to YOU?!
Let’s face it, we grumble about waiting in line to get money or food or MORE “stuff” or even for the cable guy. Personally, I can immediately think of countless people who would be thankful for such “problems!” I guess that’s where this whole idea of “First-World problems” originated. Too often we fail to show thanks for all the blessings right in front of us. And, thus, we shortchange ourselves in the “appreciation” department – and forfeit all the BENEFITS that accompany simple thankfulness. Sometimes, all it takes is a little perspective.
And, here’s an AMAZING example of this “thanksgiving” vantage point:
At Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp where more than 90,000 women and children died, the soldiers who liberated the camp found this prayer on a piece of wrapping paper – near a CHILD’S body:
“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not only remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us, remember the fruits we bought, thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”
WOW!!! Now THAT’S the level of thanks we should all aspire to this Thanksgiving… and daily for our entire life! And while we contemplate this idea of truly giving thanks, don’t forget to share this spirit with OTHERS. Whether you share of your money, your time, your prayers, your gifts, you KEEP the “thanksgiving” going! Imagine the epic changes we could effect with a dedicated army of these “thanks givers!” Wanna join? Take your first step by connecting with like-minded individuals, in our social media communities: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. And, as you enjoy Thanksgiving this week, please know how thankful WE are to have you in our lives! Happy Thanksgiving Day… and YEAR!