Giving Thanks for that We Do Not Deserve or Expect

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Each Thanksgiving season, I’m struck by the fact that people give thanks for things that they perhaps did not expect.

This Thanksgiving, I am spending time with my family in Florida. I am grateful for the warmer weather and the time to rest a bit. This has also given me some time to think about what Thanksgiving is about and our attitudes and actions surrounding this American holiday.

Yesterday, Laurie Nichols (our BGC communications director) had a good post on thanking God for the parts of our lives which may not be the first things that come to mind.

Each Thanksgiving season, I’m struck by the fact that people give thanks for things that they perhaps did not expect. I don’t, for example, give thanks when the car starts. I don’t, for example, give thanks when the light switch goes on. Those are pretty remarkable things when you think abou them, and probably worthy of our thanksgiving.

But the things that we give thanks for are the things that are perhaps outside of our normal expectations. This makes sense because if we look to the 1621 Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth, it was actually prompted by the fact that they had a good harvest, which reminded them in many ways of what they were thankful for—namely, a good harvest.

The year before the harvest, however, was not good. And, due to the conditions and disease, about half of these new arrivals had died the year or so between arriving and the event we call The First Thanksgiving. Furthermore, the story was that the Native Americans actually provided them food in prior times when they had little, and so when they had much, they had a feast of thanksgiving.

This, of course, would later be declared a national holiday.

People who came over to what they considered the new world during those days often died of hunger when there was a bad crop or a bad harvest. They generally didn’t …

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