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Thanksgiving Day has been eclipsed. First came Hallowe’en tricks and treats almost before school started in the fall. Now we’re being inundated by ads for Black Friday sales and all the Christmas buying. In fact, some stores are already advertising that their Christmas goods are 50 percent off or more–and we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet.

And most of the hoopla is not really even about giving to others; it’s more and more becoming what I can get for me. More material things for self. That’s the modern American way!

Thankfully, that’s not how my parents reared me–and it’s not the way my wife and I reared our children. I pray that it’s not the way our children are rearing our grandchildren!

As one ages, I think the passage of time brings a bit more sober thinking (one would hope), time (if one allows himself to do so) to reflect on what’s really important in life. And there’s only one conclusion that one can reach if he’s honest with himself: the really important things in life aren’t things at all but rather people, especially family, and even moreso one’s spiritual family.

But my, how the family has been attacked and denigrated and belittled recently! Today, the traditional nuclear family is the exception rather than the rule, and it’s getting rarer with each passing year. If you had–and have–a traditional family, that fact should be high on your list of things to be thankful for this holiday and every day.

I’m thankful that our extended family has, by God’s grace, remained intact and focused on the really important things of life. Oh, we, too, celebrate holidays, but we try to put the emphasis where it belongs for each day. We’ll indulge ourselves in turkey and dressing and myriad desserts on Thanksgiving Day, and we’ll probably watch a little of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the dog show, and maybe even a little football. But our primary focus will not be on the eats and entertainment but on the people we have around us–family. Having grandchildren in the house helps us do that, of course. And being together makes us think of all the many other blessings God has given us in each other.

I’m thankful for a wife who loves me and supports me in my passion for writing and tolerates the erratic nature of that calling. I’m thankful for four daughters who are striving to serve our Lord in their respective callings and families. I’m thankful for four wonderful sons-in-law who also are striving both to serve our Lord and provide for the daughters I let them have as their wives. And I’m thankful for the five grandchildren the Lord has given us through them–and for the sixth one who will join us by Christmas, Lord willing.

I’m also thankful that we live in the best country on this earth and still have the freedom to praise and worship and give thanks to our God. But most of all, I’m thankful for the Lord Himself, the One Who rescued me from my sins and adopted me into His own family, making me a joint-heir with Christ. Without that greatest of blessings, none of the holidays would have any real meaning for me. They would leave me in the same sorry state as everyone else who is chasing after the elusive wind of self-satisfaction and materialism.

My hope is that all who might read this post would be able in all honesty to join with me in offering up true thanks to God for His many, many blessings upon us–as individuals, as families, and as a nation.

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