Turkeys and cornucopias and pilgrim hats. Seasoned stuffing hot from the oven. Creamed onions, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Uncles and aunts and cousins to play with.

Grandmothers and grandfathers with Family gathered round. Children waiting for the Great Pumpkin to rise over Charlie Brown’s pumpkin patch and dads watching college football.

A day to relax and maybe rake leaves in the afternoon.

But Thanksgiving?

How much will our celebrations on Thanksgiving have to do with giving thanks?

The Pilgrims lived close enough to the soil to know how dependent they were on God’s providence. They had learned to thank God in the midst of the bitterness of winter. And they also were quick to thank him during abundant blessing.

However, as I write this brief review of what Thanksgiving actually was, I can’t help but think about how lucky and blessed we in the Army are these days.  

At first glance we could throw a first-class pity party. Not only could we hold such a party, but, it would not be hard to get people to attend.

We have been blessed to have the opportunity to be wanting. Through this experience we learned to value the very simple basic things in life. The touch and smell of our children. The sound of a voice that we know and love. Being home. Being loved. Being alive. Being intact. Realizing that everyone is safe, present and healthy. One of the most tragic events in your life would be to take these things for granted.

Many of us have returned from a country where deodorant is an item that some people have heard of but never experienced. We now are back to a land where there are stores that not only sell such an item, but such stores are available about every eight hundred yards – each with a deodorant section.

We have gone through villages where many have nearly no teeth at all. You can think about that as you take your children to get braces on their teeth.

My point is, we are very much like the Pilgrims. They left everything behind, except their faith in God. They learned the hard way to truly value and appreciate the small and simple things in life because they learned the hard way that those very same things are not small or simple. They are the most treasured things a person can have in this life.

This Thanksgiving if you can stand erect on your own power you are blessed. If you can do it with your own legs, you are very blessed.

If you can cut your own food, eat it and swallow it, you are blessed. If you are surrounded by yelling kids who just seem to never stop, you are blessed. If they love you and each other, you are very blessed. If you can pause and take a brief inventory of just where you are in your life, and then say to yourself, that with the grace of God tomorrow just might be better than today, then you are truly blessed.

Be confident that God has a plan for you. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful that God does not abandon you, but rather, stands by your side ready to meet the next challenge in this great adventure that we call life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving let your prayers and expressions of love rise toward your Heavenly Father.

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” – Psalm 116:12-13.