By Bishop Michael Goings
During this very special season of Thanksgiving when we celebrate and commemorate the first Thanksgiving observed by the Pilgrims, there are some things that each of us should be thankful to God about. Whether we are believers or unbelievers, sinners, or saints, democratic or republican, rich or poor, or whatever our status in life may be, there are some essential things that our Creator has favored us with that should cause us to be thankful.
The Natural Elements That We Can Not Do Without
Certainly, at the very top of things that we should be thankful to God for are the natural elements that we would be unable to exist on earth without. Far too many of us are ingrates when it comes to these basic elements and essentials that are necessary in order to sustain life. Few people ever give any serious thought to the fact that God is God to everyone regardless of their race, creed, nationality, religious belief, or etc. In His love for us, He makes the sun to shine on the evil as well as the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Even the air we breathe and the water we drink are too often taken for granted. We do not acknowledge that these things are due to the benevolence of our Creator and God. During this season of Thanksgiving, let us not forget to give thanks for these essential elements that we cannot do without.
For the Food We Eat
It is a Judeo-Christian custom to say the grace (give thanks to God) before or after a meal. With so many millions of people around the world either being on the verge of starvation or being grossly malnourished, for the most part (though we have people in this land of plenty who go to bed hungry), we should be truly thankful to God for the food He has blessed us with. There should never be a time when we eat that we should not give thanks to Him for our food. Since food is one of the most fundamental essentials of life to every human being, each of us should incorporate thanksgiving along with our meals and not take for granted nor be ashamed to honor the One who gave us the food.
Thank God for Mental and Physical Normalcy
Many people are sick and have to struggle with some physical challenges or abnormalities, due to birth defects, accidents, and other causes. We should never belittle or make fun of people who were born with special needs or those who were disfigured or made disabled due to sicknesses or accidents. We should give thanks to God continually for our physical and mental strength and soundness, and never take it lightly or for granted. But for the grace of God, you and I could be mentally or physically abnormal and challenged.
Thank God for Living in America
One of the things that I am continually thankful to God for is the fact that I was born in America. Given all that is wrong with our nation, we are certainly not a perfect and flawless union. There are many negatives and evils that exist in our nation that perhaps cannot be solved or healed but by the Divine Physician. However, in spite of the existence of these detriments and wicked things that are a part of our culture, in my perhaps biased opinion, America (with all of her failings and faults) is still the best place to live in the world. Of all the nations on earth, America still ranks at the top of the list for having people from other nations endeavoring to enter. It is interesting to know that we have no citizens who are rushing to get out, due to political oppression, lack of opportunities, and other things that we often take for granted. When you have been privileged to travel extensively abroad to many other countries as I have and seen first-hand the living conditions of the people, it makes you thank God for being in America.
Thank God for our
The final thing that I want to briefly consider is a common thing that we Americans should truly give thanks to God for is our Democratic Republic form of government. Though it has been tested and tried by some who would seek to subvert and overthrow it, due to their extreme and radical beliefs, it is still intact. It is still a beacon of hope to all the world that a true democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people can stand and survive both foreign and domestic aggression and attacks. Perhaps nothing else that has happened in the last few years proves this to be the case than the recent midterm election. Throughout America, on every level, the people spoke convincingly through their votes that our democracy was worth fighting for and sustaining. Though there were other important things to consider like the economy, immigration, women’s rights, and etc., there were enough whose concern for the preservation of our democracy helped to tilt the scale and prevent a typical landslide for the minority party. These people in casting their vote were thankful for our democracy and demonstrated it by the candidates they voted for.