Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863 upon a proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Historians believe the first proclamation, although not as a holiday, was signed by George Washington. Until now, Thanksgiving has been as a day of family with almost all non-essential businesses closed and employees given the day to join with their families in a remembrance of the great blessings given by God.
Our nation is a place of extreme wealth enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world (top 20 in all major rankings and top one or two among industrialized nations). Our wealth is immense compared to most nations and our standard of living, which is a broader measure including more than wealth, is also far beyond most. Our healthcare system is second to none. Freedom, liberty and common public values assure that a youngster in this nation can rise to achieve anything he may desire whether in the sciences or the arts. Our nation is so blessed that one of our top political issues of the day is how to control the influx of immigrants arriving here illegally every day.
One could spend hours listing the blessings of this country – the common riches enjoyed by every person in the United States. But more valuable still are the great personal blessings we receive. These blessings may be different and vary greatly from one to another. Still we all enjoy them.
Our nation is vast, spreading over almost 4 million square miles. Our children grow, are educated and often transplant to differing regions throughout our country. Yet we can see them face-to-face within a few hours, exchange mail for less than a half dollar and speak to them on reliable telephones instantly. They are not threatened by war nor savaged by terrorist groups as in some countries (Boko Harem in Nigeria, ISIS in the Middle East, etc.). Our pre-adolescent children do not travel on tops of trains to sneak into another country.
I resolve to stop overlooking and neglecting my family. I will remember them in my prayers of thanksgiving.
Everyone has a health problem. Everyone. It could be that your health problem is hidden at the moment, but it will reveal itself soon enough. No matter the illnesses, however, you are not the worst. Someone is sicker still. A couple of years ago I walked into a doctor’s office with a muscle issue that concerned me. But then it hit me. I walked into the office! Others were stumbling about on walkers and in wheelchairs but I was able to walk into the office without any aide or assistance.
I resolve to stop whining about my aches and pains and become more thankful for the good health I have.
The church has problems. As long as people like me make up the assembly there will be problems. But I am part of a family that belongs to God and is governed by the Savior Himself. I have an array of talented people who believe and worship as do I and who will drop whatever they are doing for my benefit. I am part of a tour group that is only visiting here and will soon be going home together. I am blessed.
I resolve to stop focusing on the problems of the church and see its splendor and glory as Jesus intended. He died for the church and that makes her special.
Thanksgiving is important as it reminds me of my blessings. Pause and consider the wealth of your gifts and you will be a changed person.