Give thanks

Here in the United States it is the week of Thanksgiving Day; assigned to the fourth Thursday of the month of November in modern history. This time of
remembrance of many blessings was begun in 1621 by the Pilgrims (New England colonists who’d sailed from Europe) after their first harvest in their new land.

Can you imagine sailing with about 100 other people on a 100-foot, wooden ship across the mighty Atlantic Ocean for 65 days? This was no cruise liner. Though most of them made the crossing successfully, by the time of that first harvest celebration a year later, about half of those who’d made the crossing had died. Still, the habit of regular thanksgiving was theirs for the many blessings God bestowed on them.

As a national U.S. government came into being about a century later, the Continental Congress declared a day in December as a day to seek the continued blessing of the Almighty. Nearly every U.S. President has declared a similar day of remembrance and thanksgiving beginning with the first one, George Washington.

It was with Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation, in the middle of the U.S. Civil War, that a day of thanksgiving became officially annual. As a federal holiday in the 21st Century, we hear more about what we will fix to eat that one day, the Christmas season shopping that officially begins the day after, travel, and football than our actual participating in the practice of thanksgiving.

Now to the power of two words which are powerful every day of your life: thanks giving or thank you.

I’ve written before about the habit of thankfulness here and here. Let’s face it, no one finds a chronic grumbler and complainer fun to be around. It is no fun to be that person either. Sure, we all express our discontent but there is no positive power in it. It is better to get out of that mindset as fast as possible. Your outlook and life will improve the more you learn to be thankful and give thanks regularly.

It takes courage to see the world around us with eyes of gratitude, especially when our particular circumstances are difficult, dark, hurtful. This week especially, I encourage you to write down daily a few things you are thankful for, to express thankfulness to those around you especially with spoken words. May those efforts come back to you a thousandfold.