As Thanksgiving Day approached this year, I heard and read many comments about how terrible 2020 has been and how it would be hard to celebrate Thanksgiving. The general feeling seemed to be that rather than thankfulness most people were feeling relief that the year was almost over. Among the reasons cited for this demoralized feeling was usually the COVID-19 disease and everything associated with it. The shutdown of the economy; government-mandated restrictions on how we educate, do business, travel, gather, etc.; and even the shortages of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
I, however, beg to differ. Maybe I'm just a contrarian, but in spite of all those previously cited things and how they've affected us all to some degree, I find much for which I can and should be thankful. I've enjoyed relatively good health, as has the rest of my family. My wife was able to continue teaching her students albeit in different and often inconvenient (for both her and the students) ways. I was able to continue writing and even to have two book manuscripts accepted and scheduled for publication with releases scheduled for spring and summer of next year. We have been able to continue worshipping with fellow Christians safely. In spite of our nation's many and varied problems, I'm still blessed to live in the freest and most prosperous nation on earth.
And I contrast how we live today in America with how earlier generations lived, the many conveniences and advances in medicine and technology we enjoy that they could only dream of. I'm thankful that my continued existence doesn't rely on my ability to hunt, fish, and gather. (I'd starve for sure!)
I contrast my own situation with that of the people who celebrated that original Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony in 1621. Investigate sometime the number of those pilgrims who died before that Thanksgiving feast. Only one of the original families escaped suffering at least one death. Most of the heads of households died. Most of the married couples suffered the death of one spouse or the other. They faced many fears and uncertainties, not the least of which were starvation, disease, and death. And yet they could thank God for their blessings.
If they could do it in those trying circumstances, we in America today certainly could. It's all a matter of attitude.
Someone once said, "When the spirit of gratitude dies on a man's heart, that man is well nigh hopeless."
I hope that the malaise and demoralization that I've heard around this season of what should be thankfulness is not an indication of the demise of the spirt of gratitude creeping into American society. The only way to prevent it is for every individual to make a conscious effort to find things for which we can be thankful. If we try, it's not hard to find something for which to thank God.
I woke up today. My heart is still beating. I'm still breathing. God still has a purpose for my being here. He has blessed me in innumerable ways.
You can say the same thing if you just take time to count your many blessings! Than share them with others. The attitude of gratitude is just as contagious as the disease of despair. Spread gratitude.