Thursday, November 24, 2005

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

It’s a National Holiday, Thanksgiving Day, with a paid day off for hourly wage earners, parades with bobbing balloon floats and the traditional turkey dinner all across the fruited plain. I’ve heard some demean this truly American holiday by calling it “turkey day”, which may well be the reason I decided to write my thoughts about having an attitude of gratitude.

George Washington shared some of his thoughts as he dedicated Thanksgiving as a day for us all to take a moment to thank God for everything we enjoy. I linked with Rush Limbaugh's site ( via the title bar ) because he had the transcript in its entirety; the first line I have included here.

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."”

Then there is the declaration given by Abraham Lincoln as he expressed his thoughts regarding Thanksgiving; also found linked in its entirety on the same page with that of George Washington, I have included one line only.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
Time has blurred many American's memory of the values associated with Thanksgiving Day, even as Ronald Reagan gave his dedication speech in 1981 I noticed only a couple of references to God, and yet these important reminders are there.

“Let us recommit ourselves to that devotion to God and family that has played such an important role in making this a great Nation, and which will be needed as a source of strength if we are to remain a great people.” (emphasis added)
Some of us have heavy burdens that weigh in as we contemplate the day; asking aloud, “What have I got to be thankful for?” as if to forget the many blessings we constantly enjoy, those which many of us take for granted. We have the breath of life; but you may say, “My child died leaving me alone each day as I grieve.” or “My son was killed in action and I don’t even know why we’re in that war to begin with” or I lost my house and all my possessions in the storm” and the list of hardships is endless as we travel through life. “What have we to be thankful for?”

I have a friend who lost her baby, a baby she didn’t really want because she wanted time to be a young married couple and wait a year or so before starting a family. The baby was not aborted; rather it was not strong enough to make it to full term and died just prior to taking a first breath. Many years later and several children in her family, all healthy and growing in leaps and bounds, I heard the emotions overflow as tears and sobs erupted from the many years of holding a general feeling of guilt for having wished not to have that first baby. She prayed that her Father in Heaven would take away those memories of ingratitude, something which I believe have made her all the more humbled and thankful for the gift of life.

What is dear enough or important enough that we will curse God for its loss? I have many friends, some I am only aware of as they stop by and visit my articles and leave a comment and a thought; one such friend I know only as Curious Servant. I think he has the right attitude as he reminded me of the trials that Job went through and how he never forgot to thank God for each breath he took regardless of all his many hardships.

Take a while to count your blessings and then send thanks to Heavenly Father for everything which has come your way; the happy and the sad, the steak dinners you’ve enjoyed as well as those times you had a burning hole and had to wait for payday. Those loved ones who sit at your dinner table today as well as those who have departed and have left you with only a memory of those times together. A church hymn comes to mind:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. …

Here's the link to Curious Servant that I could not hide:

Last moment add on:

I was about to complain because some of the Blogger tools seem to have a mind of their own, not being able to hide a URL, changing fonts on me at will and then it dawned on me, Be thankful that such a wonderful tool even exists for my benefit and use. Kind of like Professor Higgins tossing all of his loose change into Eliza's basket when the clock strikes off the hours at the beginning of My Fair Lady. "A reminder!"

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