Friday, November 21, 2014


I remember Thanksgiving Day of years gone by. Our crowded house was even more crowded than usual. My mom and sisters worked in the kitchen. The smell of turkey filled the house. My dad and older brother went pheasant hunting. I snacked on scraps and provided entertainment for the guests. Uncle Bud was always the first to arrive. He was a farmer. Never late to anything. Both sets of grandparents would come a little later with all sorts of food. Grandpa Pete brought a relish tray and some sort of orange slush the kids weren’t allowed to drink. Grandpa Adolf brought various smelly fish and sweet Norwegian pastries.

Around one o’clock the food started coming and it didn’t stop coming for hours. Turkey, potatoes of various varieties, oysters, hard-boiled eggs with a whipped yellow filling, lefse, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and of course pumpkin pie and apple pie.

The women always cleaned up. (Don’t blame me for that. I’m the baby in the family.) The men went to the family room and watched the Cowboys or the Lions play football. Most fell asleep. Maybe hibernate is a better word. I would go look for leftovers with great success, as there were always plenty around. The rest of the day was spent outside enjoying walks rustling through the leaves in the cool and crisp air, playing fiercely competitive board games, and exchanging ideas for Christmas gifts.

Today, Thanksgiving is usually still celebrated by a feast and with family. It is a welcomed few days off for most workers. Often Christmas decorations are put out. And then there is planning for shopping the morning after Thanksgiving—a strategic plot on how to get one member of each family to Walmart, Best Buy, and Nebraska Furniture Mart, and Old Navy before five o’clock the next morning. We have come a long way since the first Thanksgiving.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. –Thorton Wilder

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -1 Thessalonians 5:18

It is easy to forget that contentment in life usually does not come by achieving or acquiring something we do not currently have, but instead by recognizing and appreciating what we have been blessed with. It is a whole lot better to embrace thanksgiving as a life-long attitude than it is to occasionally remember to feel or be thankful. The feast doesn’t have to be a day. The feast can be daily. It is God’s plan for our life that we be thankful to Him and thankful to others. Not so much for God or for others. But for us. Thanksgiving is a simple attitude adjustment that can simply change our lives.

Each day, be intentionally thankful. Write down a few things you are thankful for. From the common to the complex. Be grateful. Tell, give, and show God thank you. Tell, give, and show others thank you. Your life won’t ever quite be the same again.

The best is yet to come…


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