Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude and Blessings

gratitude---the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful; blessings---something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity;the bestowal of a divine gift or favor 

As we barrel forward into the month of November, our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and the meaning of that day.  It is said that people began having feasts as early as the 1600’s to give thanks.  (Attributed back to 1621 in Plymouth.)  A lady by the name of Sarah Hale promoted the idea of a national day set aside for giving thanks back in the 1800’s.  She spent many years trying to persuade Presidents to observe this day.  In 1863 Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a national holiday.  This would be observed by following Presidents until 1941 when Congress finally made it a permanent holiday to observe.  Thanksgiving was observed to give thanks for the harvest of the year.  Today Thanksgiving holds a lot of different meanings for different people nowadays, although we should be grateful for the farmers who bring in the harvest every year.  Without them, we wouldn’t have any food on the table.  It is the kickoff to the Christmas season, great shopping deals on black Friday, football, stuffing your face with an enormous amount of food, traveling, long weekends off from work, and time spent with extended family and friends.  I count Thanksgiving as one of the greatest holidays we celebrate. 

It is a time to reflect and to give thanks to God for all that I have.  It is so easy to complain and think of the things you don’t have in life or the things others have that you are lacking.  Are you lacking a bed to sleep in?  A roof over your head?  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat?  What about a job?  A car to drive around in?  TV to watch?  The computer to surf the Internet?  A smart phone so that you don’t miss a single tweet?  Take a vacation or mini vacation every year?   Some of these things are things we take for granted.  You come home to your house and you wish you had a bigger one or a newer one?  Be thankful that you are safe from the elements in your home.  Be thankful you know where you are going when you come home for the night.  What about your car?  Too many miles on it for you?  Doesn’t have a navigation system in it?  Well, be grateful you have a motor and four tires.   A job that you can’t stand?  100 other people are waiting for you to quit it to take your place.  In America, we have so many “things” that we just take for granted.  These are really things to be extremely grateful for.  I could be somewhere riding a donkey to get from point a to b—somewhere tonight a donkey is thanking God that I have a car!  I could be homeless and hungry looking for a job.  I am blessed and grateful.

What about the things such as parents who loved and nurtured you instead of belittling you and neglecting you?  What about a spouse who adores you and loves to see you every evening instead of one who takes you for granted?  How about the freedom to walk around outside your house without hiding your face because you are a woman and are not valued?  What about when you walk outside at night and your silence mingled with the crickets and frogs?  Some people are listening to bombs and living in fear.  We live in this great nation of ours with so much freedom because of the men and women who continue to serve and uphold our freedoms.   I am blessed and grateful.

Did you know that there are over 925 million people going hungry in the world?  Our Earth just reached the distinction of having 7 Billion people inhabiting it currently.  So almost 1 Billion of those people are starving.  How can this be?  1 in 7 people are starving.  They are in our towns, cities, and states, not to mention the untold millions around the world.  Do you remember to be thankful when you eat a meal?  Do you ever think how much food we waste and how so many people would be thankful to eat our leftovers—even out of the trash.  I am blessed and grateful.

Do you have your children with you?  Can you love on them and hug them?  What about your parents?  Your extended family?  Your friends?  So many people are hurting tonight.  They are lonely.  They are missing important people.  They feel empty.  Do you take the time to tell those you love the most how important they are to you?  How much they mean to you?  Have you reached out a hand to those struggling?  Don’t avoid them—it only hurts you.  Be grateful that God put you here to minister to those needing love and attention.  You can never tell someone enough how much they mean to you.  I am blessed and grateful.

There is so much to be thankful for in this life.  Every day during the month of November I am posting on Facebook something I am thankful for.  I thank God for the little things, the great big things and everything in between.  Even when you think there is nothing to be thankful for, remember something or someone that made you happy or made your day, even if it happened 10 years ago!  Be thankful for those memories.  Try blessing someone if you don’t feel blessed.  Your heart and soul will thank you.  I am blessed and grateful.  What about you?

Blessings by Laura Story

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