Give Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1 (NIV)

Mom would wring the chicken’s neck. Usually a couple of them. She was quite efficient. They would flop around some then she would grab them up and souse them in a tub of hot water. Shortly after that feathers started flying. The next time I would see those chickens, they would be on the dinner table baked golden brown and stuffed and sitting alongside a rather large ham. Growing up in the West Virginia hills, I do not recall having turkey for Thanksgiving. Chickens and ham were plentiful.

The smell of giant yeast dinner rolls filled the house. The aroma would make my mouth water. But also did the thought of banana pudding, chocolate pie, and applesauce, molasses stack cake. Ham replaced bacon for breakfast that morning as Mom trimmed some from the dinner ham.

It was not however about the feast of the year. It was about being thankful for our many blessings.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. – Johnson Oatman, Jr., Count Your Blessings, 1897

In school at this time each year, no matter the grade, we revisited the original Thanksgiving story. It was the important beginning of a blessed nation and it was important for us to understand how what would ultimately become the United States of America began.

Looking around these days, you can find plenty for which to be thankful. We live in a country that is blessed with wealth. Even those considered in poverty in many cases are fabulously wealthy compared to people in many other nations of the world. As a people, we have overcome many difficult periods and have always come out the other side a better nation and better people. Be thankful of our humble beginnings and never lose sight of them. We are where we are now because of who we were then.

We are blessed with men and women who do not need to be conscripted to come to the defense of our great nation. We will always have the disgruntled, but to counter that we have more who are not and the contentment of freedom always wins.

We have friends who have stood by us in both good and troubled times. We have family ranging from great grandchildren to great grandparents. Although we may have lost loved ones along the way, rather than grieve we reflect on how they blessed our lives.

From my family to yours, have a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving.