It’s been good for me to make a list of those people and items for which I am truly thankful. Periodically, I will dig it out from the clutter on my desk and read it, especially at this time of year.
There have been some changes to the list that I prepared a few years ago; for instance, my dad is no longer here, but we have a new blessing as this week as we are welcoming a new grandson into the family.
There is an old church hymn entitled “Count Your Blessings” that I particularly enjoy singing at this time of year. We once had a song leader in our church who changed the way he would sing the refrain. Instead of singing, “Count your blessings, name them one by one,” he would have us sing, “Count your blessings, name them ton by ton.”
Irving Berlin wrote and Bing Crosby sang the classic “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” for the 1954 movie, White Christmas. It has become a song that is associated with Christmas, although I think it is more appropriate for Thanksgiving. There is some wonderful advice contained in these lyrics: “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings, instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”
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Yes, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon the blessings that we have received and to simply give thanks. It seems to me that the holiday has become nothing more than a 4F celebration to some folks. By 4F, I mean that the focus is only on Food, Family, Football, and Friday after Thanksgiving — not in any particular order of importance.
There is nothing inherently bad about any of these. In fact, I do intend to overeat and spend lots time with family, while completely ignoring football and absolutely refraining from shopping. So, I’m going for two out of the four.
Thanksgiving, and everything that comes with it, is a nationally recognized holiday. It is not unusual for government offices and many places of business to be remain closed for the entire four-day period. It’s become somewhat expected.
Even though we, as a nation, acknowledge and participate in the observance of a day of thanks, do we actually take time to give thanks?
While I thoroughly enjoy spending time with family and partaking in the delicious meals, I must remember that this day is meant to be a day of giving reverent thanks. In my view, Thanksgiving should truly be considered a religious holiday.
For me, the question is quite simple: If you don’t believe in God, then who in the world are you thanking when we sit down to the feast? After all, the day was created to give each of us the opportunity to take time to be with loved ones, to count our many blessings, and to give thanks to the God.
So, please enjoy the holiday. Spend lots of time with family, eat the traditional meal, including the pumpkin pie and whipped topping as you ignore the calorie count, watch football or participate in the backyard game, and go hunting for Black Friday bargains with the family, if that’s what you enjoy.
However you enjoy spending the days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, just remember what it is all about. Stop and remember to thank God for your many blessings, name them ton by ton.
David Coffelt is a very blessed and thankful Harrisonville area resident and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.