Being thankful, an act of humility

PILGRIMI don’t remember a Thanksgiving at the Mullins’ home without my Mom’s paper towel roll pilgrim family. (The picture above looks NOTHING like our Pilgrim family, but you get the idea.) Mom’s Pilgrim family had two very tall parents (made from cardboard tubes that once held paper towels) and two pretty tall Pilgrim children (made of the cardboard tubes that once held toilet paper). I loved those tall, skinny people. It’s true that they wore severe black and white construction paper clothes, but they had happy smiles.

CORNOur table decorations also included “Indian corn” and several of those gourds that had bumpy surfaces. (I always thought that the gourds were kind of creepy. I would run my hands over them and wonder just what was under those bumps?) I remember sneaking a couple of the kernels of Indian corn and trying to eat them. They were hard with dusty centers; nothing like our corn on the cob from the garden or the kernels of corn left in the bowl when the popcorn was all done. I don’t recommend trying to eat it.

Thanksgiving decorations were sweet, but not thrilling like a Christmas tree or scary like Halloween decorations or delicious like the bright red Valentine’s Day candy received on that cold and dull day in February. Thanksgiving decorations are somber. The “earth tones” of fall leaves and mums, the intact November pumpkin (who doesn’t have that silly grin of its October cousin), and even the fall fruits of apples and berries are pale when compared to the bursts of color and the freshness of fruit in the spring.

Thanksgiving just seems to be a more grown up holiday. And, that makes sense to me.

To be thankful is a humble action. When we are thankful, we are acknowledging that someone has provided to us things that we do not deserve, that we did not earn. Children may say thank you, but they are rarely truly thankful. In our culture, a child’s thank you often comes in the middle of giggles and laughter. Compare that to an adult, thankful that they are receiving a gift was paid for by another.

For instance, I am thankful for the education given to me. No doubt, I did the homework and spent the time in class. But, others built the schools. Someone else decided that American children would receive public education. My parents prepared me to learn. My teachers were patient with me when they could have ignored me. My siblings helped me through tough classes and instructors. My education was paid for by others and given to me without fanfare. My eyes tear up, knowing that I have not said “thank you” nearly enough.

So, as we gather with others during this season, we need to think “what have they given to us?” Let’s start be grateful before the 27th gets here.

Maybe the list of “gifts” below will prompt you to send a thank you note or text or posting. Is there someone you should thank for their gift of a:

  • Kick in the behind
  • Pat on the shoulder
  • Surprise extra couple of bucks
  • Night out with the boys (or girls) to forget her (or him)
  • Job
  • Meal or two between pay days
  • Ride to the car repair shop
  • Word of advice that you needed but didn’t like hearing
  • Lesson
  • Hug
  • Their military service

We have been given so very much. Let’s take a moment and be truly thankful.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)


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