A Devotional Moment: Giving Thanks

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bruce Glover
  • 51st Fighter Wing Chaplain
I'm convinced that many of us have it all wrong about Thanksgiving. Now don't get me wrong, I love the football games, the Macy's parade, the turkey, the stuffing, being stuffed and the feast-induced nap on the couch.

What we have wrong, I'm convinced, is why we give thanks.

We don't give thanks because life is perfect or because we are better off than other people or because we have all that we ever want. In fact, true gratitude is born out of hardship or suffering.

Think about Thanksgiving. Fifty percent of the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims who had arrived from Europe died before they could celebrate their feast. Life had been terrible; yet, they were just grateful to be alive.

Later, in 1789 with our nation still struggling after the Revolutionary War George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving "to be devoted to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be."

Again, our American ancestors didn't take life or liberty for granted, but offered thanks. Almost a hundred years later in 1863, just three months after the slaughter that was Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of Thanksgiving, as he called the nation to a humble day of prayer and healing. Civil war would rage for two more years, but the people gave thanks. Our national gratitude is born out of hardship and suffering, not ease.

So, why give thanks?

Give thanks not because all of life is good, but because God is good.

Give thanks not because you deserve what you have, but because you know your life and liberty are precious gifts.

Give thanks not because you have all you want, but because you have far more than you really need.

This Thanksgiving I hope we get it right.