Growing up, our family didn’t have a lot of money. We had a lot of love, but little money. Thriftiness was the buzzword in our house. Yet as bad as I thought we had it, it didn’t compare to what my grandparents faced. When my grandparents married in the 1920’s, money was scarce. My grandfather told me they used fruit crates as chairs for their dining room table. My parents told me that for them, a weeks worth of pay was only $80. It seems each generation struggles a little less than the previous generation. I can prove my point. I’ve heard multiple times children saying, “we were so poor, we didn’t have a Playstation”. Another gem was, we were so poor, I had to cross the room and turn the channel because we couldn’t afford a remote. Do you think our country has become a little soft in comparison to our forefathers?
The first American Thanksgiving was not as some historians brag, held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The first Thanksgiving was actually held eleven years earlier in 1610 in the small settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. The previous winter season of 1609-1610 was so harsh that of the 409 settlers alive the previous fall, only 60 remained. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or where it might come. When help finally did arrive, they were so grateful for the food and provisions, they held a prayer meeting to offer thanks to God. A true spirit of Thanksgiving occurred.
Fast forward 400 years to our present millennium and make your own assessment of the gratefulness of our present generation. Some time ago a young boy was walking down the street with his mother. They met a neighbor on the street, returning home with a bag of groceries. The neighbor gave the little boy an orange and the mother said to her son: “And what do you say to the nice man?” Looking at the man, he shoved it back into the man’s hand and said: “Peel it!”
Did you ever know a child like that? Or perhaps an adult like that? Or maybe you feel your country is beginning to look a lot like that? We already have so much and yet we still want more. The worse part, our desire for more is being done without giving thanks for what we’ve already been given.
The story is told of a disheveled couple who strolled down the street. The fellow said to his traveling companion: “I am going over to pick up my unemployment check. Then I’ll drop in at the university to see what’s holding up my check for my federal education grant. After that I’ll pick up our food stamps. Meanwhile, you go over to the free clinic and check your tests, pick up my new glasses at the health center, then go to the Welfare Department and apply for an increase in our eligibility limit. Then I’ll meet you at 5 o’clock at the Federal Building for the mass demonstration against the rotten Establishment.”
The Good Book tells us that we need to be vigilant and alert, “watch”. The point is, don’t take your greatest mercies and undeserved gifts for granted. Never forget to offer your thanks for each and every good thing that is given to you.
I think this Thanksgiving I’ll skip the hype and instead thank the Good Lord for His grace. I’ll also thank my lucky stars that I live in the greatest country in the world. And, I’ll also choose to be content.
John, as usual, your articles are humorous, always make a great point that I appreciated, and I’m thankful for your friendship.