Tomorrow, the majority of Americans will sit with family and friends around a table full of food that took hours to prepare and it will be eaten in less than twenty minutes. When many think of Thanksgiving, they think of a national holiday of turkey, stuffing/dressing, football and a long afternoon nap.
Thanksgiving goes beyond a holiday; it is a life.
Robert Louis Stevenson is credited with saying, “The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life.” I believe Mr. Stevenson is accurate in his statement and it would do each of us good to reflect on his simple words. If one has reached a point where they are no longer thankful, in spite of circumstances, then maybe they are sleeping through life.
Among the lessons Viktor Frankl learned in the Nazi death-camp, Auschwitz, was to take time to be thankful and to count your blessings. He wrote that prisoners in the camp dreamed at night about a certain set of things more than anything else. Bread, cakes, and nice warm baths—the very things we take for granted every day.
Frankl said the prisoners around him began to appreciate beauty as never before. In one especially poignant paragraph, he wrote:
If someone had seen our faces on the journey from Auschwitz to a Bavarian camp as we beheld the mountains of Salzburg with their summits glowing in the sunset, through the little barred windows of our prison carriage, he would never have believed that those were the faces of men who had given up all hope of life and liberty. Despite that factor—or maybe because of it—we were carried away by nature’s beauty, which we had missed for so long.
How can you be thankful beyond a holiday?
- Step back from the present circumstance and see the beauty of the world.
- Remember, your God is the controller of the universe. (Romans 8.28)
- Make a list of things to be thankful and focus on one each day.
- Spend time in prayer. (1 Thessalonians 5.17)
- Remember, you are going to heaven. (2 Timothy 4.6-8)
Just some thoughts,
 Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 734). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.