Children are adorable as they don their Pilgrim outfits, hats and gather around the table to discuss the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims had a really bad winter after they landed at Plymouth Rock; facing starvation, disease and weather that felt like icicles being pierced through their meager clothing.
As bad as things seemed to be, God looked down on these weary English settlers and sent Indians to aid them. They had experienced a Fall bounty due to the efforts of the Indians who showed them how to plant, hunt and fish in this "New World." These efforts precipitated an invitation from the Settlers, to their Indian counterparts, to share in a bountiful harvest. While this was quite an accomplishment, the greatest act of Thanksgiving, however, was when the two groups joined together to give thanks for the bounty.
As we ready for Thanksgiving, we love the coming together of family we don’t always get to see during the year. The table is set with everything delicious with turkey (or other main dish) filling the center space, surrounded with gravy and potatoes, corn, green beans or other veggie, cranberry sauce, fresh bread and butter, and a drink of choice. After everyone is full from this magnificent meal, and some amount of cleanup has been attained, even those of us who are watching our weight, choose this time of year to be on a “part time” diet so we can enjoy pecan or pumpkin pie, ice cream, chocolate and a host of other amazing desserts.
The Pilgrims were grateful for their bounty and remembered to say thank you, even in the presence of those who did not worship the same as they. I wonder how quick we are to demonstrate our faith to strangers, or even friends and family. Sometimes we get so lost in the “festivities” we forget to say thank you to our Creator.
As parents we teach our children to say "please and thank you" as basic good manners. Yet, as adults, it amazes me how often we neglect to use the same. I ordered a soda one day and from habit added the “please,” and when I was served said, “thank you.” I was shocked when someone near me said, “That’s the most polite expression he’s gonna hear all day.”
When I inquired why, the lady explained, “People are ordering food and drink. Why do they need to say please and thank you? It’s what they are supposed to do!” I was shocked!
Having a thankful heart, goes well beyond the courtesy, “please and thank you.” How often do we take the time to reflect on the blessings we’ve been given? Those simple things in life are often the ones we neglect to be thankful for the most: early morning with bright sunshine, or gently falling snow; a slight breeze when the temperatures are hot; a dog’s friendly welcome; the cat who curls into your lap, a baby’s smile; food on our table and clothes to wear and shoes on our feet; a vehicle to get around, schools to learn, a church in which to worship; and a country where we are free to make our own decisions. And these are only a few ideas!
Despite all these “blessings” we still have trials and difficulties. We live in a fallen world, but even when complications swirl about us, we can know the greatest gift we have to be thankful for is Jesus Christ, who provided the way to salvation.
My Thanksgiving prayer/wish for you: Have a wonderful, blessed day filled with love from family and friends, on this day and always!