Many will be celebrating Harvest Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend.
And in the midst of this national holiday
I keep hearing the question
“How do we give thanks
… when there is unemployment or illness in our family? 
… when there are senseless deaths caused by terrorists, drunk drivers, machine guns?
… when abusive substances continue to attract the youth and ruin lives? 
… when we feel depressed, or spiritually dry or lonely or grieving?
… when hurricanes, tornadoes, mass shootings, famine, violence, “isms” are prevalent?
… when abductions happen and people of all ages are forced to become sex slaves?
… when we don’t know if tomorrow will bring war?
… when we don’t know if there will even be a tomorrow?

In the midst of trouble, history shows us that
there are people who give thanks.
Like Henry
… a farmer from a very remote area where people
could only gather for worship at great intervals. 

On those occasions they would witness to
the blessings in their lives since the community had last assembled.

At one such meeting, Henry stood and addressed the people
in halting and simple speech: 
“It’s been a powerful difficult year out there 
… the fever took our eldest daughter 
… then my wife took ill and is still in bed
… the spring wheat crop was mostly ruined by floods
And, oh yes, praise God from Whom all blessings flow.”

Then Henry sat down. 
In the midst of disaster, Henry paused and gave thanks.  

Being thankful each day, takes discipline
especially when there are financial stresses, medical concerns, family problems,
scary political tactics, environmental devastations, and more.

How can we be thankful where there is too much that distracts us?
Maybe we’re looking for the “BIG” blessings
when there are many “LITTLE” blessings?

Think of all the gifts that come absolutely free to most of us:
– If you had to pay for the oxygen you breathe
at the rate oxygen cost in a hospital
how long could you continue breathing?

– If you had to pay for the sun’s heat at the rate of today’s heating bills,
how long could you stay warm in winter?

– If you had to pay for each of your eyes
at the rate eye damages are awarded in court (about $50,000 for the loss of sight in one eye),
how many eyes could you afford?

I believe that the Henry’s of this world live
‘Thankful Living’ lives.

At graduation ceremonies several years ago
almost a hundred students filed into their high school auditorium.
Speeches were offered.
But because of court decisions at the time,
no prayers/blessings were allowed.

When the last student came to the microphone
the students suddenly

The student at the microphone
looked at the students
and confidently said

The audience exploded into applause.
A unique way to invoke Divine blessing on their future
… with or without formal approval had happened.

May we sneeze our way through Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend
and realize that in spite of the angst and fear and unknown in the world
and our own personal stuff,
there is always something for which we can be thankful
and experience at least one little blessing.

Happy, Bless-ed Thanks-giving!



© June Maffin

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