James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is becoming less and less visible. By that, I refer to all the hoopla given first to Halloween, then to football games, and finally to Christmas shopping. This year we are being encouraged to partake of Black Friday deals by Amazon all month long. For many, the day is no longer reserved for the reason for which it was established.
The first Thanksgiving was a gathering between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans who had assisted them during their first year in the colony of Plymouth. It was a three day celebration, a harvest festival, but it really wasn’t until 1863 that the holiday was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln to be held on the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Interestingly, President Franklin Roosevelt moved it to the third Thursday in November in order to create a longer Christmas shopping season. Our commercialism of the holiday, therefore, went a lot further back then I imagined! This decision was made in 1939 but two years later in 1941, it was restored to the last Thursday of the month due to public demand. Maybe it’s time for us to rededicate the holiday to a serious celebration of thanksgiving and gratitude rather than an excuse to gorge ourselves on rich food, watch football, and plan shopping trips for later in the day or on Black Friday.
This year I plan to focus on my blessings each and every day of the month of November. The hymn “Count Your Blessings” written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. in 1897 has a beautiful refrain:
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
Perhaps you’d like to join me as I daily list my blessings during this special month of thanksgiving for all the Lord has done in my life. I’m sure we will share some in common. Feel free to share yours in my comment section.
My blessings: #1 God’s grace extended to me freely through His love
#2 The gift of His Son, dying on the cross for my sins
#3 Marriage to a God fearing, Christian man
#4 All those who have encouraged me in my Christian walk
#5 The beauty of His Creation
#6 My relocation to the South
#7 A mom and dad who loved me
#8 Teachers who cared
#9 A loving church family
#10 Christian friends and family
#11 A love for animals
#12 The opportunity to teach children of all ages
#14 A love of plants
#15 The Bible
#16 A desire to learn
#17 A love for reading
#18 Being a citizen of the United States of America
#19 Religious freedom
#20 Being able to retire early to spend more time with Jim
#21 Memories of holidays past
#22 Students that I taught
#23 Inspiration to study the Bible
#24 Bible studies at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Conway, SC
#25 The car accident that led to my becoming more healthy
#26 Mononucleosis which prevented me from taking a job I was not suited for
#27 Sunrises and sunsets
#28 Having my needs always met (food, clothing, shelter)
#30 God’s peace
Truly this is just a beginning. My husband and I pray at least four times a day together. We always begin with praise and gratitude for the Lord’s love and blessings in our lives. Yes, “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. (Psalm 47:6)