Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Time to Give Thanks

To everything, there is a season,
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
     -- Ellesiastes

It is time to give thanks.

Next to Independence Day, Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays. The first Thanksgiving celebrations in the English Speaking Colonies were held in 1619 in Virginia and in 1621 at Plymouth in Massachusetts. Twenty or so years earlier, there are records of Thanksgiving Services in the Spanish Colony of Florida and in Texas. In the new American Republic, Presidents George Washington and James Madison both issued thanksgiving proclamations, however it was President Abraham Lincoln "in the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity" to in 1863 establish Thanksgiving Day as a formal and regular holiday.

To our forefathers, it was important in all circumstances to give thanks to the Creator for His Divine Providence and blessings. Today, between family, the feast, and football, we lose sight of this purpose. Too often, we give more thought to ensuring our gravy has no lumps than to thanking the Creator of the Universe.

This should not be.

This year, somewhere between the feast and the football, I urge you slip away, take pencil and paper in hand, and list the five things, people, or circumstances for which you are most grateful. 

I bet you will be unable to limit your list to five things. That's okay. Make your list as long or as short as it needs to be, but name at least five things.

Write your top five or seven or ten things on a small piece of paper and tuck it away in your wallet where you can refer to it every day and be thankful. Then, I urge you, whenever you feel low, pull out your list, read you top five, and be grateful. If my experience is an indication, it will boost your attitude. 

My top five are

  • My wife, who has put up with me through four years of dating, forty-nine years of marriage, one war, four children, and nineteen addresses.
  • My four children, each one unique, each one different, each enriching my life in his or her own wonderful way.
  • My grandchildren. Had I known how wonderful grand kids were, I'd have had them first.
  • Myriad friends, neighbors and acquaintances, recently met or long time known. My life is infinitely richer for knowing each of you.

My list could go on, and it will, but not here. 

Now, it's your turn. For what five things are you most thankful?