It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and the “How do we give thanks” question arises particularly this day for many.

Especially, how do we give thanks
… when there is unemployment or illness in our family?
… when there are senseless deaths caused by terrorists, drunk drivers, those wielding machine guns, war?
… when abusive substances continue to attract and ruin lives? 
… when we feel depressed, spiritually dry, lonely, are grieving?
… when hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, earthquakes, famine, mass shootings, violence, “isms” are prevalent?
… when abductions happen and people of all ages are forced to become sex slaves?
… when we don’t know if war in Ukraine will be stopped tomorrow, war will come to our own country or nuclear energy will be unleashed?
… when hackers, scammers, spammers disrupt our lives with growing frequency?
… when we don’t know when/if COVID or some other nasty virus will attack with even more fury?
… when we are uncertain about the future of democracy
… when we don’t know if there will be a tomorrow?

History shows that there are always people who give thanks in good times and in bad times … like Henry.   
Who is Henry?  Henry was a farmer from a very remote area where people could only gather for worship at great intervals.  On those occasions they would witness to the blessings in their lives since the community had last assembled.

At one such meeting, Henry stood and addressed the people in halting and simple speech:  “It’s been a powerful difficult year out there.  The fever took our eldest daughter.  Then my wife took ill and is still in bed.  The spring wheat crop was mostly ruined by floods.And, oh yes, praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

Then Henry sat down.   In the midst of personal disaster, Henry paused and gave thanks.  

Being thankful each day, takes discipline, especially when there are financial stresses, medical concerns, family problems, scary political tactics, environmental devastations, unrestrained viruses, war and more.

How can we be thankful where there is too much that distracts us from living a life of gratitude?   
Maybe it is because we are looking for the “BIG” blessings to be grateful for, when there are many “LITTLE” blessings each day?

Think of all the gifts that come absolutely free to most of us.
* If you had to pay for the oxygen you breathe at the rate oxygen cost in a hospital, how long could you continue breathing?
* If you had to pay for the sun’s heat at the rate of today’s heating bills, how long could you stay warm in winter in the western hemisphere?
* If you had to pay for each of your eyes, at the rate eye damages are awarded in court (about $50,000 for the loss of sight in one eye), how many eyes could you afford?
* And the list goes on if we pause and reflect on these gifts.

While I believe that the Henry’s of this world live “Thankful Living” lives, I also believe that
there are more Henry’s than we know!

At Graduation ceremonies several years ago, almost a hundred students filed into their High School auditorium.  Speeches were offered, but because of legal issues and court decisions at the time in their area, no prayers or blessings were allowed to be offered in the school.

When the last student came to the microphone, the students in the auditorium all suddenly sneezed! The student at the microphone looked at the students, smiled, and clearly, slowly and confidently said “GOD BLESS YOU!”   The audience exploded into applause.   The point had been made.   A unique way to invoke Divine blessing on their future?  You bet!

May each of us “sneeze our way” through our Thanksgiving (whenever they happen), and realize, that in spite of the angst and fear and unknown (in the world and our own personal stuff), there is always something for which we can be thankful and experience at least one little blessing.

Aaaaaccchhhooo!   Blessings upon all Canadians who are marking Harvest Thanksgiving this weekend and upon everyone as we recall and give thanks for the blessings in our lives.

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© June Maffin
Photo: Timothy Eberly – Unsplash – used with permission