No one has ever become poor by giving.
~ Anne Frank
This week our nation pauses to allow us to give thanks in a big way. Offices will be closed, roads and airports will be jammed as people prepare for the largest family meal of the year. Many of us go to great lengths to cross over the rivers and navigate through the woods so we can share in this extravagant meal with our loved ones. It is worth competing with the crowds because we have so much to be thankful for in our lives. Coming together to share the year’s blessings and successes helps us to reap the rich harvest of joys which constantly surround us and at times we take for granted.
Take a moment to think about all of the things you have said a cursory “thanks” for this year. Every time someone has held a door for you, you've probably murmured it, or mumbled it to the barista at your favorite coffee shop after they prepared your favorite drink, maybe you have even composed a thankful tweet or sent a snap this year and dressed it up with a hashtag so your gratitude can be recognized by the world. Are you really thankful for these things or are you just being polite?
Now think about all the ways where loved ones have gone out of their way to assist you materially or emotionally. How did you express your appreciation? Did you say “thanks”? Did you pay it forward? I know in my own life I haven’t said thank you nearly enough to family members and friends who have helped me through the difficulties I faced this year. Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to spend that time, to express our deep sense of gratitude for the love shown and received throughout the year.
As Christians, I believe we can take it even one step further and thank God for the countless blessings He has showered upon us, our families, our nation and our world. This is what President Abraham Lincoln hoped to achieve in 1863 when he declared the last Thursday in November a National Holiday to recognize the generosity of God. He said:
“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
As we give pause to our daily routines and business this week may it be with the purpose to give thanks for our family, friends the innumerable blessings God has bestowed upon us. Happy Thanksgiving.