As I sat down to write my Thanksgiving message this year, I was flooded with a myriad of emotions. Like many other families I know, my family has lost loved ones this year. Our celebration will be difficult without them. It has been a challenge putting my thoughts into words because for our family, our Thanksgiving celebration this year will be different. The traditions we have celebrated for years will change and are hearts will be sad, but it is important to be thankful for all of the blessings in our lives.
Please enjoy my Thanksgiving message from my blog last November –
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Many will gather with family and friends and share love, laughter, and way too many calories. Most children will be excited to be out of school for a few days. Many families use Thanksgiving Day as a day to give back and volunteer to feed a good warm meal to the homeless and less fortunate. A few will get up from the Thanksgiving dinner table and rush out to the stores to grab the advertised sales. And, some will sit back and watch football, take a nap, or simply relax.
This week, I would like to talk to you about why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was first celebrated by pilgrims in America as a feast to give thanks to God for a good harvest. Now we celebrate it to give thanks to our loved ones for all they do for us, as well as for all the blessings things we have in life.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” And “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
It is important to remember that while celebrating Thanksgiving, many are not able to celebrate with their families and loved ones. Many of our military are away defending our freedom, the police and fire departments are busy protecting us, and medical personnel will be busy taking care of the sick. Growing up, those in retail sales had the day off to celebrate before the Christmas rush began. Now, many in retail are away from their families working on Thanksgiving so that those wanting to get “Thanksgiving Day bargains” can be waited on in the stores.
“Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and one another.” John Clayton
Whatever you do this Thursday, take the time to give thanks for all of your blessings. At a time when our world is such a mess, it is important to remember that we are truly blessed, and it seems that more and more, we take those blessings for granted. This year might be the year to make this day as a day to be a blessing. Volunteer to deliver food to a shut-in, the homeless or less fortunate. Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while and tell them how much they mean to you. Take a moment to enjoy the company of those who have gathered to celebrate with you. My prayer for you this Thanksgiving is that you remember that no matter your struggles, “there is always, always something to be thankful for.”
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