By Guest Columnist Jehu Brabham
Before I launch out into my annual Thanksgiving column, let me say a warm happy Thanksgiving greeting to all my fellow Clintonians. I wish you a happy, peaceful and blessed holiday season.
It’s July, and I’m sitting in front of the television captivated by one of those favorite Christmas in July Hallmark television programs. The stars of the program are cozily riding in a sleigh, it’s snowing, Christmas lights are everywhere, there’s Santa, and people are singing Christmas carols. I wonder, is it just me, or is the focus on Christmas happening earlier and earlier as the years go by? The commercialism of Christmas is being pushed sooner and sooner. If I’m not mistaken, I think there were Santa sightings before Halloween this year. I’ve already seen commercials with Christmas themes advertising Black Friday sales events.
I think I am right on the mark when I say we have moved from Halloween to Christmas with a not-so-discreet passing over of Thanksgiving. It’s sad that the holiday with the least amount of commercialism has lost its overall appeal. Thanksgiving has become the forgotten holiday! And, because we acquiesce to our culture, we forfeit the joy of Thanksgiving and lose sight of the ever-important focus of giving thanks.
I don’t want Thanksgiving to become the forgotten holiday. I enjoy Thanksgiving. I like the sweet memories associated with Thanksgivings gone by. I enjoy the atmosphere of home and family. Children, grandparents, meal at the table, turkey, ham, green bean casserole, sweet potato pie, chocolate chess pie, and yes, I slather whipped crème on the top, resulting in 60 million calories.
Thanksgiving affords us the time to remember, reflect and give thanks with a grateful heart to a great and awesome God.
Thankfulness should be more than just a word – it is an attitude of the heart.
Our heart should reflect our thankfulness to God for life. Every morning, we should begin the day by thanking God for the gift of another day of life. God’s grace and mercies are new every morning… life and breath and health and friends and food and clothing and the kindness of others and a job to go to and money enough to meet our needs.
Our heart should reflect our thankfulness to God for health. All are aware of many people who suffered health problems this past year. It seems it is only when we face sickness that we appreciate health and strength.
Our heart should reflect our thankfulness to God for our Clinton community, our church and friendships. We are probably all neglectful in not thanking God for the wonderful, safe community we have. Thank you, Lord, for our schools, dedicated teachers, Mississippi College, police, fire, public works, recreation and other loyal city personnel, beautiful neighborhoods, churches and our community of faith, friendly businesses, and, most of all, thank you, Lord for our citizens and friends. We’ve got a great community, and just imagine how much better our relationships would be if we expressed our thanks with a pat on the back, a hug around the neck or an encouraging word for each other from time to time. Instead of criticizing and focusing on each other’s faults, what if we just stopped and genuinely expressed our gratefulness to each other?
Our heart should reflect our thankfulness to God for our families. I never start or end a day without talking to God and thanking Him for my wonderful wife, all my family members. In my joy to be able to sit down at the Thanksgiving table with my family, I am deeply conscious that, for some people, holidays are a painful time to remember family relationships – for that spouse who has lost their lifetime partner, for the parents who have lost a child, for a child who has lost a parent. But even as we feel such heartache and grief, we can be thankful for those family and friends who care for us, encourage us, pray for us and love us still. Our families are precious.
Our heart should reflect our thankfulness to God for grace and salvation. Through Jesus Christ, God has blessed us with every sort of spiritual blessing. He has taken us who were lost in sin and evil and renewed us to be like Christ. He has removed from us the fear of judgment and provided a way for everlasting life. Thank you, Almighty God, for the personal relationship I have with You.
Through this relationship, I find contentment, joy and a desire to pass on some of what God has blessed me with.
Friend, make an effort today to recognize the blessings you’ve come to take for granted. Focus on what you have rather than on what you don’t have, and see if it doesn’t improve your attitude.
In closing, let me urge you to say to your family, as I say to mine, a heartfelt thank you; and I love you to my wife Cheryl, sons Grant and Cole, daughters-in-law Anna and Catherine, grandsons Kaden and Knox, granddaughter Caroline, Mama Bryant, Cindi and Ricky Brown, Caren and Gary Taylor, Whitney and Gray Williams, Sadie and Mac, Hannah and Chase Williams and Charlie.
Count all of your blessings and never hold back on giving thanks. Let’s keep Thanksgiving not only a remembered holiday, but a dearly treasured one, as well.