Unfortunately Thanksgiving is often overshadowed by the big money maker of the commercialized Christmas season. While thousands of buyers pour through the latest Black Friday deals and make their “wish lists,” others struggle to survive. While grocery stores and food pantries set up aid for Thanksgiving dinners, how many take the time to truly help our fellow man and thank God both in word and deed. Perhaps this year Americans would be wiser to truly count their blessings and make a “Thankful list” rather than a long register of the latest hip technology.
Knowing something of Thanksgiving history is a lesson all of us would benefit from. How many of our school children these days learn of Squanto and his contributions in helping the Pilgrims recover from a severe winter? It is attributed to him that he taught them how to fertilize corn with fish and how to catch them. Because of this, the meager number of Pilgrims survived to establish the settlement of Plymouth .It also served as an assistant to Miles Standish in establishing the colony. More importantly how many of us ever pause to thank God for supplying such a knowledgeable Native American to aid the Pilgrims.
Even though the economic times may be bleak for some Americans, reflecting on our blessings is something that would help all of us to be more grateful and content (a virtue we could all use in greater amounts). In the long run it will benefit us and improve our overall health (being thankful improves health) and quality of life. The following is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can be thankful for…
- Squanto and his aid to the Pilgrims
- God’s provision during this time and throughout American history
- God’s mercy and grace upon us
- God’s patience in holding back judgment for our sins
- God’s provision for forgiveness through His son, Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit and his work in us
- Family, friends, children, grandchildren, neighbors
- America’s many, many blessings: food, clothing, shelter, teachers, transportation, industry, etc.
- Natural resources: energy, water, electricity, oil etc.
- Education: (needs prayer) administrators, teachers, professors
- Jobs (maybe not the best, but still better than nothing)
- Freedom of religion (slowly eroding but still present)
- Churches who believe in the Word of God
- Bibles, commentaries, bible studies and resources
- Quality health care: doctors, nurses, hospitals, caretakers etc. ( If you don’t think it’s good, go to a developing nation and see what they have).
- Healthy entertainment: music, movies, books, etc. (A lot of it is detrimental, but we can participate in what is good).
- Ability to pursue hobbies, crafts, art, photography etc.
- Gifted people who create many useful items
- Communication: phones, cell phones (can be a curse too!) computers, e-mail
- God’s daily presence in our lives
- The ability to communicate with God in prayer
The list could go on and on. While there’s only a few days left before we celebrate the big turkey, why not stop, reflect and make your own list.