Give thanks and remember

By Becky Siewers

It’s hard to think of November and not think of Thanksgiving. Years ago, I read a paper my son had been asked to write when he was in grade school. The topic had been his thoughts about Thanksgiving.

I loved reading it as he expressed his feeling about waking up on the morning of Thanksgiving to the smells of a turkey baking, as well as pies and the other side dishes that would be served. He looked forward to the rest of the day, knowing family would be coming; we would be eating the food that created those wonderful earlier smells and enjoying the fun that comes from this holiday.

He remembered the prayer that was shared and the knowledge he had from knowing he had much to give thanks for on that special day. It was a joy for me to read that paper and know, even at a young age, he understood the importance of being thankful for what God had given him.

Things have changed over the years, and now he makes memories with his son and his wife; but I know he still understands how important it is to give thanks to God for what we have been given. In our hurried lives, we sometimes take things for granted. I’ve always thought one of our most important prayers should be of thanksgiving to God.  We take comfort in sharing prayer with God when we go to Him for help, but after all is said and done, do we go back to thank Him for the outcome of prayer?

I read a story once of a person who had gone through struggles but learned a great lesson from a friend who was having a much tougher time because of cancer. When the person asked the friend how they did not question God for their suffering, the reply was that God’s response to their prayer was one of comfort.

The pain and fear are bearable because they are joined with others and all are in the hands of the creator. How beautiful to love God so much that you could give thanks even when you are in pain and could be asking “why me?”

So much comes to us without cost. We are taken care of as infants and children. We are educated and given opportunities to make our way in the world. And yet we may still say, “I’ve worked hard for everything I have.” It does take work to accomplish things in our lives. But we should not forget the refugees, the homeless and hungry, the lonely and forgotten.

So when we gather this Thanksgiving, let us remember to reach out to those who need our help. It can be our way of saying thanks to God for what we do have. Gratitude is not always a sign of our times. I believe God would like us to be grateful each day, recognizing what we have received; and then out of sheer gratitude, we will always be moved to give to others.

“So I will not be silent; I will sing praise to you. Lord, you are my God; I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:12).  I will continue to remind myself each Thanksgiving of that paper my son wrote, full of memories, and then continue to give thanks for all God gives me each day.