Very soon now, the woods hereabout will be leafless,
silently awaiting the first snowfall as Thanksgiving day draws near. From cyberspace,
I have borrowed some insightful quotes to meditate on my Thanksgiving blessings. Pondering
the true meaning of our American Thanks-giving, a bulletin of the New Antioch Church of Christ in Hillsboro, Alabama published
these insightful thoughts:
“For pilgrims in a new world,
thanksgiving was a time to celebrate one more year of harvest in the face of starvation.
For a new country it was the celebration of freedom from the "tyranny of over seas domination.
country in the midst of a civil war it was appreciation for those lives not lost and for a country that would eventually heal
the wounds of regionalism. But for the person truly centered on God and His Son -- it is gratitude for every good gift
we have been given. It is gratitude for good gifts bestowed on us today and in the future world to come. We
do well to be reminded annually of its importance. Here's why: Thanksgiving
is admission that though life is often hard and unfair there is occasion for genuine joy and happiness. Thanksgiving is recognition that the gifts we hold in our hands and heart are not solely the results of
our own efforts. We are indebted to others and ultimately to God for vast contributions to our well' being. Thanksgiving is a reminder that no life is a solo flight. We gather with and/or think of all those
who have made our journey worthwhile. Thanksgiving is confession of those times of ingratitude that have distanced us
from the mighty God. It provides opportunity for worship and reconciliation."
No one has captured the spirit of the American
Thanksgiving more poignantly than Irving Berlin in his opening lines to God Bless America.
America's unofficial national anthem was composed by an immigrant who left his home in Siberia for America when he
was only five years old. In the fall of 1938, as war was again threatening Europe,
Berlin decided to write a "peace" song. He recalled his "God Bless America" from twenty years earlier and made some alterations
to reflect the different state of the world. Singer Kate Smith introduced the revised "God Bless America" during her radio
broadcast on Armistice Day, 1938. Perhaps it is the memory of so many thousands
who have given their lives for the cause of our freedom that makes these lines so meaningful:
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn