Often forgotten amid the turkey, football, parades and family gatherings, the real reason behind Thanksgiving is gratitude.
As Americans, we have much to be thankful for. First, to God, for blessing this country beyond measure with freedom and abundance. Second, to the people in our armed forces and our veterans, for their sacrifices and courage that allow us to remain free. Third, to our families, friends and neighbors who carry our burdens and share our laughter and tears.
After the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, they paused to give thanks, even though they had endured a terrible ordeal crossing the Atlantic. During the first winter, they dug seven times as many graves than the number of houses they built. When a ship arrived later from England, it brought no relief in the form of provisions, just 35 more mouths to feed.
“Yet, their lives were marked by a spirit of constant thankfulness,” Billy Graham writes. “On one occasion, William Brewster, rising from a scanty Plymouth dinner of clams and water, gave thanks to God ‘for the abundance of the sea and the treasures hid in the sand.’”
In a remarkable book entitled, Choosing Gratitude, writer Nancy Leigh DeMoss encourages the active cultivation of gratitude every day:
“True gratitude is not an incidental ingredient. Nor is it a stand-alone product, something that never actually intersects with life, safely denying reality out on its own little happy island somewhere. No, gratitude has a big job to do in us and in our hearts. And it is one of the chief ways that God infuses joy and resilience unto the daily struggles of life.”
This Thanksgiving, we at the American Civil Rights Union are grateful for many things, not least of which is our loyal supporters, without whom we could not fight for freedom.
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!