November has barely begun and many retail stores already have their full array of December holiday wares on display—Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons, toys, candy, goodies, gifts of all kinds.
Not to mention Christmas tunes playing at full blast.
We get it. Stores like to plan (and need to)—and the rest of us need to plan as well.
And so we will.
But let’s not skip over the wonderful, necessary, and especially human act of giving thanks in November for all of our blessings in this still-remarkable country of ours.
Let’s not forget Thanksgiving.
Let’s not overlook it, minimize it, rush it, ignore it or otherwise blot it out in the blink of an eye.
I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. It’s a time for coming together as families, for pausing, for sharing prayers of thanks.
It’s a deep breath of bounty.
It’s a moment—and way more than that. Its own thing. Its own time.
While there is plenty of pain and suffering in the world—and many difficulties to deal with, dodge, and decipher on a regular basis, especially now—there is also beauty, kindness, and joy.
There is friendship, laughter, and love.
There is family.
And there is the vast love of God.
Here are a few sentiments worth sharing and re-sharing from others as we look ahead to Thanksgiving this year.
From Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Family Talk, a nonprofit that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk”: “As you gather with your families from ‘sea to shining sea,’ remember to tell your children again about the sacrifices made by the Pilgrims who helped pass along the freedoms we enjoy today. And may we be eternally grateful for the men and women who gave their very lives on battlefields and on ships far from home that we might conquer tyrants and dictators who would have enslaved us. As we bow our heads in humble gratitude this Thanksgiving, we must never forget the legacy that was handed down to our generation and those yet to come.”
From faith leader Greg Laurie, senior pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.: “Thanksgiving is a day that was established by our government for Americans to give thanks to God Almighty for His favor upon our nation. Yet it seems like we have forgotten this. We go from Halloween straight to Christmas and altogether skip Thanksgiving. We need to remember how important it is to give thanks to God—not just on Thanksgiving Day but on every day. The Bible says, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever’ (Psalm 136:1). We know life is not always good, and sometimes bad things happen, but God is still good. If you have breath in your lungs, a roof over your head and food at your table, you have something to be thankful for. Don’t forget to thank God for his blessings.”
From Yael Eckstein, president and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews: “Praise God for He is good! America, be blessed today!”
And from Dr. David Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community church in El Cajon, Calif., and founder and host of “Turning Point,” “May we never cease to be amazed at the constant love and kindness of our Heavenly Father.”
And here are a few sentiments from those long gone from this earth but whose memorable words still live on.
From Henry David Thoreau: “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite—only a sense of existence.”
From Theodore Roosevelt: “No people on earth have such abundant cause for thanksgiving as we have … Let us remember that, as much as has been given us, much will be expected from us; and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”
From O. Henry: “Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”
Maureen Mackey is a writer, editor, web content strategist, and contributor to CNJ.