The famous Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet said, “An optimist is someone who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day”. I wouldn’t necessarily call that person an optimist. I would lean more toward calling them delusional. Within hours of you reading this column, I plan to be indulging in an awesome Thanksgiving meal with my beautiful wife and my precious parents. Even though I know it to be nothing more than wishful thinking I have often said that I believe there must be an additional portion of grace and forgiveness for the sin of gluttony during the holiday season. Knowing that to be a fallacy, I will once again this year simply try to exercise some degree of self-control and trust that I do not end the third Thursday in November needing to repent.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it is a time for families and friends to share good times and create memories that will last a lifetime. Our family thanksgivings have traditionally been great times of food, football, horseback riding, games and leftovers and I treasure every single memory.
What strikes me every year is that we all have so much to be thankful for that it seems a travesty of righteousness to limit our expressions of appreciation for our blessings to one day a year. A few years ago I came across the term “thanksliving” and I have really embraced it as a desirable goal for me personally. I want to live daily with a heart that is overflowing with thanks for the innumerable blessings in my life. I want that to be one of my defining characteristics.
It’s so easy to take precious, and even priceless, things for granted. Ask the person who has been diagnosed as terminally ill if good health is something to cherish. Or ask the homeless fellow who hasn’t eaten in days if having family, a warm house and a pantry full of food is really all that special. There is so much that we tend to just expect to be there any time we want it and oftentimes we can be consumed with wanting even more. Maybe we should not focus so much on what we don’t have and make the choice to be more thankful for what we do have. Contentment is a beautiful place to dwell.
I know this isn’t a new concept. It’s been said plenty of times before. But maybe more than ever it’s time to take the message to heart. I am not a prophet of doom or even a negative individual, but even a casual glance around should make even the dullest of understanding among us realize that the world is shaking under our feet and many things we have held as sacred throughout our lifetimes are being threatened. Our freedom and security as Americans, our children’s hopes and dreams, and even our tomorrow seems to be uncertain at best. I say it’s time for us to reverence our incredible blessings every day and adopt “thanksliving” as the standard by which we are measured. You may not agree with anything I’ve said, but I column as I see ‘em. Happy Thanksgiving!
Eddy Prince is senior pastor at Grace Fellowship Church of God. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .