Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2022

For many, the Thanksgiving holiday has become a much more secular event in recent years. The turkey dinner is squeezed in between the Macy Day Parade and NFL games. And by evening, thoughts turn to bargain busters and sales extravaganzas. The rampant commercialism of Black Friday can no longer be contained to a single day and now encroaches on our Thanksgiving holiday.
Holiday sales, football games, and parades do not change the nature of the holiday. We have grown into a nation of immense wealth and power. We squabble over every little thing and we are a divided nation. Church attendance has dropped off since the COVID epidemic. There is a demand for workers — and too many workers don’t want to work for a living anymore. Prices have gone up, making it difficult to buy much-needed things such as food, gasoline to get to work, and in some cases, medicine.
Yet, we are a nation that has been blessed and Thanksgiving, despite all that is wrong with America, is still a day to give thanks and to show gratitude. And whether that is done through worship or merely private reflection, it is critical that we maintain the sense of gratitude that this day is all about.
Gratitude is a word with many synonyms, including recognition, honor, grace, acknowledgment, indebtedness, and others. But the essence of the word is being grateful, or thankful — which is also what we observe on Thanksgiving Day.
For 233 years, Americans have celebrated the official Thanksgiving holiday that President Lincoln declared an official federal holiday in 1863. It’s evolved through the years, to be sure, and yes, today we honor a day of Turkey Trot running races, family reunions, bountiful feasts, football, and the unofficial “activity” of the day, a nice nap on the couch.
The drawing power of Thanksgiving brings together many who haven’t seen each other all year long, because of distance and other matters. At the heart of the fourth Thursday of November is a time to gather, reflect, laugh, and maybe even shed a tear or two, as we celebrate what we have and who we are.
Regardless of age, many people find the holidays difficult and emotions can run high during this period each year. A kind word, a caring call, or a well-timed visit can make a holiday feel special even during the toughest of times. Many a loved one is far from home serving our country or otherwise separated from family. Some are in hospitals and nursing homes. It’s important to check in on those folks, too. For them, we are thankful, too.
For others, Thanksgiving is tough. Perhaps they don’t feel like celebrating or have had a tough year.
Perhaps they don’t have a home, or an excellent meal to honor the holiday. Fortunately, we’re blessed with thoughtful, caring people who take time from their families and friends to cook and serve dinner to those less fortunate than the rest of us. They also take time to deliver some meals to those who can’t get out to get them, such as the folks at Elizabethton First Baptist Church, who spend a part of their Thanksgiving Day cooking and serving those who are alone and without.
Our hope for your Thanksgiving is a happy and joyous one, regardless of circumstances. We live in a great country that has afforded us a great opportunity, hope, liberty, and the ability to make our dreams come true. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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