Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
We are almost to our first significant school break of the year. Kids get five days to spend with their families and hopefully we are remembering to take time to emphasize that it is Thanksgiving Break…a time to give thanks for everything we have in this country. We just finished celebrating Veterans Day and I believe it is no coincidence that both holidays share the same month. We spend a day remembering our veterans, but a couple of weeks after that, we often don’t slow down enough to enjoy the things our Veterans fought for. We fix a huge meal, have a frenzy of guests into our house, run out the door to do Christmas shopping, and stay up all night to fight crowds to save a few dollars.
On Thanksgiving Day, we should remember these important things our veterans have protected for us:
The right to worship God.
America the beautiful where we can gather in our homes with family and friend without fear.
The right to voice our opinions.
All of the other rights that we have been allowed, as a free people, to create and amend the Constitution with for over 200 years.
The things we can be thankful for are bound by our Constitution with soldiers laying down their life for on a regular basis. The Constitution opens with “We the People” and refers to “Blessings of Liberty.” The Constitution is your voice. When you read it, you own the words of the Constitution as a U.S. Citizen. Give thanks for the honor and privilege of living in this country. Give thanks that you are blessed to have liberty when so much of the world lives in oppression, fear, and persecution.
If only our legislative body could lead and articulate their vision for our country with the eloquence of our Founding Fathers. The Declaration of Independence was born out of oppression, fear, and righteous indignation at being treated as “subjects” without basic rights. These great men knew that there would be war and death to gain these rights and not everyone would live to see them come about. But they bravely forged their Declaration that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Several key factors or provisions are written into this line: “All men are created equal.” We are all born with an equal chance to live our lives in freedom and to pursue happiness. But we know that in order to maintain a functional society, that as we grow and make good or bad choices, we may become greater or lesser men depending on the decisions we make on our journey and how we treat our fellow citizens. Those choices can deprive us of life, liberty, and happiness if we do not cherish those aspects of life in these United States.
We have reached a point in our country’s history when most citizens have what they need and much of what they want. The U.S. is in an identity crisis where the innovation, creativity, knowledge, and wisdom born of necessity has fallen to other countries hungry to have what we have. As schools, we struggle to motivate students who don’t want to learn because it might provide them a better life since they don’t require a better life; rather, students often only learn because something is “fun,” or “entertaining,” or because their favorite teacher loves the subject material and is excited about it.
Because life isn’t a day to day struggle like it was for the pioneers of our country, we have lost the art of “thankfulness.” If we could return to a state of mind where we remember to give thanks to God and each other at least once a year, if not daily, we wouldn’t be worrying about red and blue states, inner-city riots, and whether our neighbor has more “stuff” than we do, but we would be feeding the hungry while teaching them a new skill, or housing the homeless while letting them help improve our country’s infrastructure, or hugging the abused and weary while standing up to their oppressors.
When you get together this Thanksgiving with your friends and family, bow your head and give thanks with a grateful heart for the amazing gifts, including freedom, which we have been given by being born in, or moving to, this amazing country.