Thanksgiving and Thankfulness

When I was a boy, we sat around the Thanksgiving table, bowed our heads, and entered into what I recall to be the longest prayer of all time outside Midnight Mass at church. While the turkey dried out and the gravy got cold, my Uncle Frank passed right by the traditional “Bless Us O Lord for these thy gifts” and instead took the whole family on a trip through the bible’s 8 Beatitudes. At the end, everyone just sat there…speechless. We’d been asked to bless what was really important—the unbeliever, the sad, the poor. We asked for mercy, good conscience, peace and the privilege to suffer for the sake of righteousness.

prayingWhile Uncle Frank’s blessing placed as much “thought” on our table as did Mom’s cooking, Thanksgiving has never been the same for me since. I’m grateful for the holiday because it causes me to slow down, stop and be thankful for what we have…and to remember that because of our faith we have, and must give, so much more.

There’s a bible story in Luke where Jesus, on His way to Jerusalem, met 10 lepers who begged for healing. Jesus cleansed them all, but only one returned to Jesus, fell at his feet, and thanked him. While we always need more thankfulness in the world, let’s also be thankful that we don’t get everything we desire. If we did, what would we have to look forward to?

  • Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
  • Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.
  • Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
  • Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
  • Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
  • Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.