“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau

Much will be made of the time that many families will share this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.  A lot of time will be spent planning a meal, making sure everything is just right, and inviting family and friends to join around our tables.  Many do the age-old things that we have done for years – watching the Macy’s parade, watching a “Miracle on 34th Street” or several football games.  A blessing will be given and everyone will dive in and enjoy the meal.

We will hear a lot of stories, some truthful and some exaggerated.  We may hear about the European Pilgrims, those early immigrants who became dependent upon Native Americans for so much.  There were many first thanksgivings when the Pilgrims expressed gratitude to God for surviving many hard winters, and droughts in summer.  They learned a lot from Native Americans who literally saved the Pilgrims who were not prepared for the harsh realities of living in the “New World.”  Meals were prepared to celebrate a bountiful harvest and they prayed, asking God’s blessings.

We, too, will ask God to bless us.  We will express gratitude for many things – God’s loving kindness, health, family and friends, employment and retirement, food, a place of shelter, and so many other things.  Maybe Thoreau’s statement is really a prayer that all of us should recite. “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

On Thanksgiving Day, we will pause and formally give thanks.  However, we ought to express thanksgiving to God every day. Every day that we wake up and breathe is a demonstration of God’s kindness to us.  All the things we have are attributed to God’s benevolence. David encouraged believers to lift their eyes to the hills and affirm that their help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121).

And while we are grateful of God’s benevolence to us, we are mindful of others who struggle to make ends meet; who find navigating through life can be very challenging; who may not have all the trimmings of a Thanksgiving meal, but remain grateful for what they do have.  Even in our struggles, our thanksgiving ought to be perpetual.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day.  In all that you do, remember to be grateful for who you are and what you have.  May your thanksgiving be perpetual, never ending, but always filled with thanksgiving to God.  Amen