Thanksgiving Remembered

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Why do you suppose that many people call tomorrow’s holiday Turkey Day?

For one thing, many people won’t even eat turkey. For sure the vegans won’t. But some people will have beef or duck or ham or salmon or spaghetti or pig’s head. I’m not sure about the last item. But Walmart had six or seven pig’s heads in their freezer case.

Back to possible answers to my question.

Maybe people don’t feel thankful. But how could that be? How could that be in this country? We are the most blessed country on earth. Despite the last election. Despite the growing number of homeless. Despite the troubling number of children who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Despite the deaths.

You know that we have plenty of difficult issues festering in America but compared to what our ancestors faced we have it good. Compared to what other parts of the world are dealing with we have it wonderful.

I remember living in post-civil war Spain in the early 1960’s. I saw people who considered my family rich. We weren’t. Not by American standards. I think sometimes my mother ran out of money before she ran out of month. But we were rich in so many ways.We hired a Spanish maid. Until we got into a house that would hold our family, we rented two apartments. We were rich by Spanish standards at that time.

As a non-profit director of a ministry that received donations for our clients I saw further proof of our riches. When expectant mothers came in for supplies for their babies, I noticed that they looked for matching items with a specific theme. I knew that there were mothers in other parts of the world that didn’t expect matching or a theme. They wanted warmth and protection for their child.

We are a bit like Max, our little blessing of a Chihuahua. He has a warm home with two women with ample laps who lavish love on him. He has a huge back yard that is all his. The house is pretty much his as well. He has many human and dog friends who come visit frequently. But right now, he is making the most pitiful sounds. He is half growling and half crying. The dogs next door are out and he wants to be out with them. So, he feels like he is not blessed. At this moment, he is not thankful.

Or maybe Thanksgiving lost its name because some TV or radio announcer got clever one year and coined Turkey Day. We were amused and adopted it. Maybe it rolled off our tongue a little bit easier. We are fond of turning everything into an acronym or label.

Or maybe in our era of discounting the value of our heritage Thanksgiving Day just wasn’t very palatable. Turkey Day was so much easier to swallow.

Do we struggle with the picture of a community that had so much less than we have today kneeling to Almighty God in Thanksgiving?

Do we struggle with the picture of a community of Native Americans helping a community of immigrant Americans?

Do we struggle with being thankful even though we don’t have what we want?

I am reminded of one of my ancestors who arrived on the Concord in the 1600’s. He was part of 13 families who joined William Penn to establish German Town. They faced extreme hardship. But they left a continent where religious freedom and opportunity to prosper was lacking. They must have been filled with thanksgiving for the relatively large tracts of land they would struggle to develop and maintain. They faced adversity that is difficult for you and me to relate to. You and I face adversity that would be difficult for them to relate to. They would be clueless. You and I are clueless.

We would be clueless unless we remember Thanksgiving.

I have a friend who is struggling with keeping her health while caring for injured and sick adult children. Her daughter was near death a short time ago. Now my friend reports of her daughter’s miraculous recovery. My friend’s son faces surgery. And she is struggling physically no doubt because of the strain of the last few months. I don’t believe that this year she is clueless. She is thankful for her family. She is thankful for their health. She is thankful.

I have a friend who is packing up her house to move across the country tomorrow on Thanksgiving Day. She will be leaving precious grandchildren to care for a dear mother. I don’t believe that this year she is clueless. She is thankful for modern technology that will keep the grandchildren close. She is thankful for her supportive husband. She is thankful that most of us won’t be on the roads tomorrow. She is thankful that she can care for her mother. She is thankful.

You have similar stories. We aren’t always clueless. Let’s not be clueless this year.

Let us be thankful.






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