Lately I have seen a lot of people posting about the things they are thankful for in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday later this week. While I don’t usually follow a popular trend, in this case I have enjoyed reading some of the things that friends feel thankful for and consider themselves to be blessed by having. I have always felt that Thanksgiving is a day that is set aside each year to remind us of something we should be doing every day-being Thankful for our blessings, whether few or many. A blessing is a blessing after all.
I also love that Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday that everyone, no matter their faith, beliefs or politics can still celebrate. In many ways, it is my favorite holiday in the sense that it has retained all of its character and traditional appeal over the years, even as other holidays have become more commercialized and less about what they actually stand for.
There is so much I have to be thankful for and I consider myself undeserving of the many ways in which my life has been enriched by them. I could never name them all but I will try to list some of the things I feel have truly blessed my life and I will do it all at one time and in one place.
- I am thankful for my wife and child. We will celebrate 13 years of marriage in a few weeks and I can never express properly how glad I am that she came into my life. Our son has been the greatest blessing we have ever received and I can honestly say that whatever reservations I may have ever had about having children have long since gone by the wayside. He blesses us every day.
- I am thankful for my immediate family. I am blessed to have parents who have always cared about me and who have always supported me any way that they could, from a mother who stayed home and raised her children to a father who worked hard seven days a week to put food on our table and make sure that she could be at home with us. I am blessed to have a brother who managed to survive growing up with an oftentimes unappreciative older brother.
- I am thankful that I had wonderful grandparents who all cared about me and who instilled in me a deep respect for God, family, traditions, values, honor and hard work. I was also blessed with very loving aunts and uncles, all of whom were like surrogate parents and who gave me just enough cousins to value them more like older siblings and not so many that we need stickers to remember each other’s names at family functions.
- I am thankful for my large extended family. I have a stepmother, step brothers, step aunts, step uncles and step cousins that I don’t think of as anything else but family and I look forward to getting to spend Thanksgiving with most of them later this week.
- I am thankful for another year of good health. I know that things can and often do change quickly and I am truly grateful that I have lived another year without having to deal with the issues that face so many others, some in my own family. For all those that face health issues, I pray that they will be given much more to be thankful for than myself between now and next Thanksgiving.
- I am thankful to have a job that not only allows me to help make my community stronger and better but that puts a roof over our heads and food on our table. With a weak economy and so many out of work, I never undervalue how blessed I am to have gainful employment and to be able to contribute each day through my work. I am also thankful for the people I work with. Though each one is different and each has their own issues to deal with, they are large part of what makes work interesting and what makes the bad days a little easier and the good days better.
- I am thankful to live in a small town that has friendly people, deep roots and strong values and to have friends that I have known my entire life here. We may not have a Wal-Mart or a Target or an Applebee’s yet but what we do have is a sense of community and strong ties that hold us together. I like that people wave at me when I drive down the street and that I know enough people to wave at others. Some people leave for the big city and the restaurants and conveniences but sometimes they come back for what they can only find in a small town like ours. I’m glad I realized the value of it a long time ago.
- I am thankful for my church. Through years that it has prospered and years that it has struggled, my church has always been there for me and for my community. Some of the greatest men and women I have ever known and know today have attended church there and even though the older ones are no longer with us, their influence continues to give me strength and hopefully, a little wisdom too. God is everywhere but I always feel a little closer to Him there than anywhere else.
- I am thankful to live in the United States of America and to be free to make of my life whatever I wish to make of it. We may have differences of opinion, philosophy, values and beliefs. We may have challenges that arise and which sometimes shakes our faith in the system we live in. We may worry about its future and we may be uncertain about where it is going but I still think the framers who put it together did a pretty good job. I hope that we will always be a nation that is not defined by the differences we debate over but by the strengths and freedoms that we cherish and which so many have died defending.
- Finally, I am thankful to God for all of that I have to be thankful for. Without His presence in my life, none of what I have to be thankful for would be possible and my life would have no meaning. I am thankful that His well never runs dry and that we all can drink from it just by asking to. Every blessing that I have comes from Him and every talent that I have, whether writing, singing, creating or just appreciating the talents of others, is a blessing from Him.
This Thanksgiving, wherever you go, whatever you do, however you spend it, put aside the meals and the football and even the family time and pause for a moment to just give thanks for it all. Have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving Day!