One day a teacher asked her students to share what they were thankful for. Several students stood and gave rather standard answers, but one little boy was different. He said he was thankful for his new glasses. When the teacher asked why, he said, “They keep boys from hitting me and girls from kissing me.”
We may not have new glasses to be thankful for, but each of us has something for which to be thankful. We need to ask ourselves a few questions.
Are we thankful for God’s material blessings? Are we thankful that we live in America? As a nation, we have faults, but despite them, we are still the greatest nation on earth. We are still the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As Americans, we have great freedom. We can come and go as we please. We can live our lives as we please. We can become anything we can dream and are willing to work to achieve. We are free to express our opinions, both good and bad. We are free to bad-mouth our leaders.
We can do and say things in America that in other countries could get us arrested, put in jail, or even shot. We have freedom of religion in America. That means that we are free to be religious in most any form (Evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim). It also means that we have the freedom not to be religious (atheists). Are we thankful for the freedom we have as Americans?
We live in a democracy, governed by a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that states government is of the people, by the people, and for the people (all the people). When the people we elect who are supposed to represent us do a bad job, but forget who elected them, we can throw the rascals out, and we frequently do. Are we thankful for our democracy?
Are we thankful for our homes? Are we thankful for a roof over our heads and for food on the table? Are we thankful for those we love and those who love us; for mom and dad, for husband or wife, for children, grandchildren, and for dear friends?
Do we have spiritual blessings we should be thankful for? Are we thankful for our churches, our ministers, and good and godly people who “walk the walk” and “talk the talk?” Are we thankful for the grace of God that passes all understanding that has changed our lives and made us members of the family of God?
We should not let the gloomy economy, the pre-Christmas sales rush, or anything else rob us of the joy of Thanksgiving. Sometimes, we need to slow down to live. Take time out from the rush. Sit down with paper and pencil and make a list of all the people and things you have to be thankful for. Review your list, then thank God for all your blessings.
Robert Wilkerson, D.Min., is a minister, writer, and author of several books. He and his wife live in Oneonta.