As we approach one of our oldest celebrations in the United States, I ask that we try to remember what Thanksgiving represents.
In the past few decades it has become a time for tailgating at football games, stuffing ourselves with more food than we need, and finally, going to the mall to buy that 72” TV that we also really don’t need. Thanksgiving has become a very inconsequential time for gluttony in all respects.
The original Thanksgiving, if we trust recorded history, and I do, was a meal shared by new immigrants to the North American continent, who were saved by the love and sharing of the natives they met on these shores. It was a time of brotherhood and sharing of community . . . without discord or hatred, a time of brotherly love.
Spiritually, I think of Thanksgiving as a time to reflect on the beauty of life, given to us by God, all life. Personally, part our family will join to share several meals over the long weekend. Linda and I will join our daughter, her husband and son, Linda’s brother, and our son. The celebration begins Wednesday night at our house, moves to our daughter’s on Thursday, and ends in a celebration at a local winery on Saturday. Yes, it may be a decadent weekend on the surface. But throughout the weekend, we will take time to thank God for the many blessings he has given all of our family, those with us, and those in separate parts of the world.
We will also reflect on those members of our extended family of mankind who cannot share in the abundance we enjoy in the United States.
I will take time to personally remember that God is at the center of our lives, thank Him for the gifts, and pray that my less fortunate brothers and sisters, suffering in suppressed and oppressed areas of the world, be given His comfort. As I think about all of the pleasures we have in the United States and then think of the suffering around the world, I am reminded that Jesus taught that whatever we do to the poorest, we do to him. This bothers me. As an individual, I cannot do much to assist those suffering, but I can pray. I can work locally to help those in the Fredericksburg area have a more pleasant life, whether it is assisting them to get Medicaid, or teaching others at church meetings that we are all brothers and sisters, regardless of what color or religion we are. Between close family members, in-laws, cousins, nieces, and nephews, I maybe have 40 family relatives, but as a child of God, I have billions. I care just as deeply for them, even if they do not share my bloodline.
I pray that God blesses all in this time of thanksgiving. I also pray that all of us take the time to think of others less fortunate and say a pray, silently or aloud, for them.
Happy Thanksgiving, my brothers and sisters throughout the world. As God does, I love you all.