Thanksgiving is one of my favorite celebrations.
It is a time to gather with family and friends. It is also (mostly) devoid of the insidious selfishness that can creep into other celebrations as we fallible humans think of gifts we hope to receive.
Thankgiving is a uniquely American celebration, although giving thanks is not confined to any one country.
Although not a holiday established by biblical precept, Thanksgiving does have a biblical basis as again and again God instituted feasts and commanded us to be thankful, grateful.
Jesus gave thanks before breaking bread (Matthew 15:36, Mark 8:6, John 6:11), for wisdom (Matthew 11:25) and before breaking bread and sharing wine at the Passover meal (Luke 22:17-19, Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23). Scripture tells us Jesus set an example for us.
The past couple of years have been challenging as we have battled, endured, survived a pandemic and the myriad governmental restrictions imposed upon individuals, businesses and institutions. Many of us have lost loved ones in death. But, life has gone on.
There have been weddings, births, new job opportunites even in the midst of the pandemic.
Do not take for granted that you are alive, breathing, seeing, hearing, able to walk, to hug, to love. Those are gifts denied many.
As you gather together for Thanksgiving this year, consider from whence you've come -- are you stronger, more resilient, did you survive the trials? Cultivate relationships -- you may have lost loved ones but there are people out there who need a friend, a helping hand, a strong shoulder. Remember the good, the precious memories of former days and be grateful for sweet memories denied to far too many. And, cultivate a habit of responsiveness -- say "Thank you" to people you encounter, look for ways to bless others, and express gratefulness to the LORD God, creator of the universe who hears, sees, knows and loves you!
Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for five years. A native of Louisiana, she moved to northwest Arkansas in 1980 to work for the Benton County Daily Record. She has nine children, six sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law, nine grandsons, four granddaughters and three grandchildren expected. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]