The following is written by Dale Pratt of the Cedar Community Church:
I’m on a mind-walk today … again … the subject is goodness … which has led me to being thankful …
Last week we celebrated the 394th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving meal shared at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts in the fall of 1621. The first “official” Thanksgiving was proclaimed two years later, by then-Governor William Bradford. President Abraham Lincoln initiated the federal holiday in 1863, proclaiming that we need a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” (Wikipedia entry on Thanksgiving – United States).
So here we are. And I’m thankful. I spent time with family, squeezed the babies, ate several totally wonderful meals, slept a lot, watched a little football and I did not have to fear for my life at any juncture.
When I read about the life of the early settlers and that first thanksgiving day, and the conditions in our country when President Lincoln called for an official day of thanksgiving, smack in the middle of the Civil War, and I hear, on a daily basis, the struggles around our present world … I reexamine life on the Plateau and around the Puget Sound and I conclude, very clearly, that I have no excuse for not being thankful.
The first Thanksgiving dinner was celebrated by about half of the original pilgrims, because the other half had died that first year, and yet they found gratitude in their hearts for the goodness of their Almighty God. And when President Lincoln initiated a national celebration, we were about half-way through the war to end disunity in our country that would leave around a million people dead, countless others wounded and scarred for life, and an unbelievable devastation to property and resources – and yet, our president called for a heart of gratitude to our gracious Heavenly Father for his goodness to us.
My heavenly father has been good to me! I can always complain about something, because there’s always something to complain about. You see, life is not perfect and stuff happens that I don’t like. I was talking to God just the other day about how I would prefer if some events and situations in my life were different. Different by my standards! I don’t want pain and lack of good health in my own life and I don’t want it for my friends and family, either. And I don’t like it when relationships aren’t going well – I don’t like emotional pain any more than I like physical pain; I’m just allergic to pain in any form! Yet pain doesn’t leave for long, and we regularly pray, as a church family, on Sunday mornings, for God’s gracious intervention in the painful situations, as we also offer heartfelt thanks for the goodness we are all enjoying.
I’m not a great bronc buster, but I’ve saddled up a green colt a few times. I never wanted a horse to buck, but I know it’s always a possibility. Oh, that moment when you stick your toe in the stirrup for the first time, swing a leg over, settle into the saddle and feel for the other stirrup; sometimes you have to just let ‘er buck and ride it out and do your best to stay on top. And when you find yourself sprawling in the dust of a coral, with that smell and taste only known to those who’ve been bucked off a time or two, you know you’ve gotta get back up and get back on. Then, when everything settles out and you’ve got a good ride under you, you can tip your hat back, smile, ride out of the coral and be really, really thankful!
You caught me on a good day. I’m really, really thankful! It’s still Thanksgiving in my heart!
Dale Pratt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org