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Thanksgiving Day 2023 was bittersweet at our house. My daughter is a wonderful cook and made us a great traditional meal from scratch. We had turkey, mashed and sweet potatoes, salad, fruit, two home-made pies and many other delicious foods. We invited two friends who were going to be alone otherwise. Certainly, a day to be thankful to God. However, this would be the first thanksgiving without our wife, mother and grandmother, Darlene. We recalled the 60 years she had organized and cooked much the same meal for at least 20 family members. One of the people we invited has been a widow for several years and we shared memories of our loss with each other.

It certainly seems as if the media in our country is determined to kidnap this special holiday by calling it “Turkey Day” and flooding the airwaves with “Black Friday” ads instead of giving God the glory. It is still a day for families to gather together and enjoy food and companionship. Unfortunately, sometimes conversations are heated resulting in hurt feelings and rancor. Those who don’t believe in God must find something else besides God to thank for their many blessings. Perhaps their “lucky stars” or their own skills and efforts.

Christians who study the Bible regularly should realize what God desires on that one day and model it every day of the year. Thanks-giving and its related forms are given to us in the scriptures so we can do just that. “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord….” “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving…” ( Ps 95:1-2). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God” ( Php 4:6). “How can we thank God enough for you (Paul to the Thessalonian brethren)?”  (1 Th 3:9). We should continually give thanks to God because He is good, (Ps 136:1) because He will give us the ultimate victory, (1 Cor 15:57) because He will always lead us, (2 Cor 2:14) and especially for the indescribable gift of Christ ( 2 Cor 9:15). These are only a few of the many things for which we should be thankful. Perhaps 1 Th 5:18 says it best, “ …give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We will continue to mourn the loss of our loved ones, but we will also give thanks that we will someday be reunited in heaven and can now give thanks in all circumstances each day of the year.

Jim Bailey

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