Have Thanksgiving year-round with thanks-living

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

Earlier this year, several groups of people from our county traveled to Haiti – one group on a medical mission and other groups to help with construction in Jacmel. My husband, Greg, went with some men to build a church. The week they spent there made a lasting impact on their lives.

They talked about the tent cities where thousands were living due to the destruction caused by an earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. The day after they returned home, Greg went into a local grocery store and commented that he saw more food in that one grocery store than he had seen the entire week in Jacmel. The stark comparison was like a cultural after-shock.

Recently, Pastor Franky Jeune, the mission team’s interpreter in Haiti, came to speak in several churches in our county. He mentioned that Haitians must trust God every day for their food because they never had enough set aside for tomorrow.

I was reminded, once again, how much I take for granted each day. Pastor Franky’s statement also reminded me of the request in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” (Matthew 6:11). It’s something most Americans do not have to do. We are basically in the 1 percent and the rest of the world in the 99 percent, when it comes to having plenty of food.

Too often, I have to be reminded of what others do not have to be reminded of why I should be thankful for all I do have. Helen Keller once said, “I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. It would make him more appreciative of sight and the joys of sound.”

Someone once said that the words “thank” and “think” come from the same root. Like me, maybe you do not think about all the things you have to be thankful for. Author Max Lucado has asked, “Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t give you only that which you remember to thank him for?”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed that if the constellations appeared only once in a thousand years, imagine what an exciting event it would be. But because they’re visible every night, we rarely give them a look. I once read, “The greater God’s gifts, the less they are regarded.”

Maybe we should consider celebrating Thanksgiving year-round by thanks-living. Each day think of at least one thing for which to be thankful to God. Make giving thanks a part of daily living such as thanking the waitress for serving your meal and then returning thanks to God for providing it. Every time I see a soldier, I say, “Thank you for serving our country.”

“Thanks” is the easiest thing to give – a simple spoken word to express gratitude. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”