Spend Thanksgiving, Giving Thanks

The day before Thanksgiving … a good time to focus on what tomorrow’s holiday represents. In 1863 President Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official National Holiday – but it had unofficially been previously celebrated for 230 plus years every year in America. It started with the colonists who arrived at Plymouth in 1621. A day to celebrate all that God had done in bringing them safely to the New World – even amongst their harsh new reality of life.

The reality is that while having a National Holiday that represents nearly 400 years of thankfulness from the start a nation – it is actually an even far more important concept. Thankfulness, the core reason for the holiday, is sometimes forgotten. Our time with our family, eating food we don’t eat the majority of the rest of the year, watching football, napping on a couch in front of a fireplace… all great things that I intend to do myself… but all things that we have to remember are possible for us because of the number of bigger things which we need to be thankful… like,

• 2.8 million… the number of soldiers and military personnel who have been wounded, killed or listed as MIA in all wars since our country was founded | Thank you Jesus for your own example of sacrifice and love… Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

• 40 million… the number of men and women who have served in our armed forces | Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

• 2.2 million… the number of firemen, EMTs and police officers who currently serve | Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

• 42 million and 8.4 million… the average number of times your heart beats and breaths you take a year, respectively | For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14

• 1,996 vs 800… the average amount of food each American eats per year and the amount of food each American throws away each year | The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. Psalm 67:6

• 200 vs 17.5… the average number of times a four-year-old laughs per day vs how many time an average adult does | A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

We are definitely a blessed people. Hopefully too, we recognize the vast number of people in our community, our country, our world who have far less than any of us. Let’s choose to not just have momentary twangs of heartache for them – but let’s allow heartache to move us into action and choose to be difference makers in the world, fueled by the thankfulness we have for all the blessings we have received.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your families and that we all spend time this Thanksgiving, giving thanks.

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