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The fourth Thursday in November. Set aside by Congress in 1941 as a national holiday. Its origin in this country goes back to 1621. The first harvest in the New World. Native Americans were invited by the colonists to help them celebrate the first successful harvest of the corn that the Indians had taught them how to plant. The Three-day feast was set aside by the colonists to celebrate and give thanks to God for his mercy in their voyage a year earlier as well as for their new life and friends in this rugged, untamed land. It was later announced as a holiday by George Washington on various dates.

Fast forward 396 years, and we have a paid holiday that honors a turkey, football, family, friends, and food more than God almighty. I don't want to emphasize what it has become but what it should be. Regardless of the holiday’s history, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Here we are in the United States of America, one nation under God, founded and preserved by him. A nation established by the tremendous sacrifice and courage of men and women fleeing government oppression in England, seeking to worship their creator according to the dictates of their own hearts.

Our history isn’t a perfect one. Even though we are more fortunate than many other countries, there’s lots, we could have done differently and better. Despite the shortcomings of our forefathers, they originally started off with the right mindset.

If Adolf Hitler had gotten his way, we would all be under Nazi white supremacy rule. If Stalin and others had gotten their way, we would be under a communist dictatorship that would be telling us, “There is no God.”

Instead, here we are. Fat and happy and spoiled rotten by God's blessings in the good ole’US of A! We are free to believe or not believe anything we want. Free to worship any god or believe we are gods. Free to worship anything or nothing. All because of the divine providence of God almighty. Also, because of the sacrifice of men and women who cherished this freedom so much, they were willing to give up theirs and even give their lives to preserve it for others.

God has blessed and prospered our nation to the point we all have the opportunity for education. We have first-rate hospitals and medicines for the sick, homes for the aged, facilities for the disabled, places where the hungry are fed, and even the homeless can come in from the cold and find a hot meal.

We can travel across town or across the country in just a matter of hours and never have to show “our papers” unless we leave the country. We can leave home as early or come home as late as we want. We can find shelter and sustenance anywhere we go for a price. We have jobs that we get paid to do and are free to dream and achieve to whatever extent our ambitions take us. We can become what we want to and do what we want without permission from anyone. We can raise a house full of children or none at all. We can marry or not marry; no one forces that decision upon us.

My point is simply this: We have much to be thankful for. Our country may not be what it once was and may not be what we would like it to be, but there is still no place in the world like this place.

Each Thanksgiving, as we go about our day today, eating too much and spending time with family and friends, whether we watch football or parades or nothing, let’s take time to thank God for all his “good gifts” (James 1:17).

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:13 “And also that every man should eat and drink, enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to remain thankful for all that I have. Also, Lord, help me to remain grateful in times of plenty, and in times of lack. Also, help me to see how I can be a blessing to others. Amen.

Your turn: What are you most  thankful for this year?


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