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For many, if not most, Americans, the fourth Thursday of November is just a worn-out, antiquated and obsolete holiday that we “go through” just to get to the materialistic mania known as the Christmas shopping season.

We do, indeed, get through the holiday, bulking up our bellies with rich food as a foretaste of what to expect in parties and gatherings from mid-December until the start of the new year. The coming round of holiday feasting, merriment, and merchandising prompts us — as if we need much prompting — to indulge in satisfying the self. It’s all about me — what I want, what I must have to keep up with what someone else has.

Thanksgiving, unfortunately, is lost. We are too modern, too sophisticated, too advanced to think that we actually should pause and give thanks to an Almighty God Who gives the blessings we casually take for granted. We are now centuries ahead of our Pilgrim forebears and President George Washington, who called upon their countrymen to be grateful for what has been given from On High.

Before you become too immersed in the merchandising madness, at least take a moment and consider a few pointed questions:

— As Americans, do we not, of all people, have so much for which to be thankful now?

— Have you, yourself, stopped to count your own blessings?

— Even in the midst of such a crazy year as 2020 has been, do you not have something for which to be thankful?

— If you cannot be thankful for what you have, can you at least be thankful for what you don’t have? If you are not vexed with sickness, disability, unemployment, being homeless, a house fire, or an injury in an accident, should you not be thankful?

— If you have Thanksgiving leftovers that are taking up space in your refrigerator, should you not be thankful? There are millions of people in Africa and Asia who do not have that problem.

In fact, now that we think about it, famine may not be something happening elsewhere in the world that we read about. If we look carefully, we may find there are families in our midst — right here in the USA, in West Volusia! — who do not have enough food.

If you have plenty in this land of plenty, maybe you should be thankful enough to help others in need. When you think about poverty and want, there but for the grace of God go you or I.

One final thought: In the midst of all the materialism and the lust for things, how many of those can’t-do-without items will you take with you to the hereafter?

I got a reminder of the answer to that question earlier this year, while cleaning out a closet. Inside that closet was a small basket containing the toys that my last dog had and enjoyed. She really loved her toys, especially the balls and the squeaky ones. When she died, however, she did not take a single one of her toys with her. I still have them.

That reality put perspective on the inordinate desire for the things of this world.

Billy Graham said it best: “I never saw a U-Haul behind a hearse.”

— al@beacononlinenews.com

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