Thanksgiving 2020 will soon arrive. Given all the problems of this year, one could be forgiven if anyone were to examine the national scene and find only a scarcity of things that would generate thanks.
Permit me to offer a potential solution to this Thanksgiving famine. There may be very little anyone can do at the national level to end the pandemic or heal the country of political divisions. Yet, there are likely things closer to home and in your daily life that you can find that would be easy for you to give thanks about upon reflection. A small list I have thought of follows:
Do you have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in at night and food to eat? If yes, be thankful. There are so many in our country that are homeless and hungry. Do you have a family that loves you? If yes, be thankful. Think of all those who will be spending their first Thanksgiving without a beloved parent, grandparent, spouse, child or sibling. Do you know what it is like to have experienced romantic love and to be a parent? If yes, be thankful. There are some who in their adult life have never known what it is to have romantic love or what it is like to be known as Mom or Dad. Do you know what it is like to have the love of a pet? If yes, be thankful. There are some in our world who have never known what it is to enjoy the unconditional love that a pet can provide. Were you able to get out of bed this morning? If yes, be thankful. There are some who will never be able to physically rise from their bed again without help from someone else. Do you have good health? If yes, be thankful. There are many who are ill who would gladly trade their infirmities for your better health. Do you have a religious faith that carries you through the days and nights of life on this Earth? If yes, be thankful. There are some who try to endure the storms of life without any manner of faith to help sustain them.
If you look for the blessings from God that are close to you, instead of the national level beyond your reach and influence, then you may find that you have a harvest of blessings before you instead of scarcity, a bounty that cannot be obscured by pandemics or the results of national elections.
My Grandmother and Mother taught me a religious song that contains the line “Make me a blessing to someone today”. Perhaps this year, someone is thankful that you exist and that you did one or more acts of goodness, kindness or mercy to him, her or others. Doing good to those in need is of higher esteem in the Heavenly realm than any vain Earthly titles or a finite term to elective office. If your Grandmother (my sister and I called our Grandmother Nannie) was like mine, then she was a woman of wisdom and tried to give you good advice. I remember a saying Nannie often spoke “Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last”. I think the lesson she was trying to teach me and my sister was that the things of Earth are temporary. The things of Heaven are eternal. Thus, an eternal legacy will last far longer than any Earthly fortune, political power or popular acclaim. These trio of things have no value in God’s Kingdom. Perhaps the eternal perspective my Grandmother tried to impart to me could cure some of the societal ills that our country is experiencing today. Maybe this Thanksgiving (and on Thanksgiving Days yet to be), someone will count you among their blessings as they reflect on that annual date where the people are reminded to pause and give God thanks for the blessings in their lives.
William E. Plants
URG Chaplaincy Coordinator