Are you grateful today?

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Last week I was in the UPS store waiting for my passport photos to develop. As is customary in the South, a lady who was waiting to send a package engaged me in small conversations. “Wow, you get ID photos, that must mean an exciting trip is on the horizon,” she urged. Yes, I need it to get my visa for Ghana, I replied.

She continued to inquire even more, asking me when I was going to Ghana. When I informed her of my departure date, she quickly expressed her concern. “Are you going to be all the way to Ghana for Thanksgiving? Well, I hope you get invited to a nice Thanksgiving dinner there.” Now, of course, at this point, I wonder where this lady was when she should have been in her American history class, but I kept my thoughts to myself.

Instead, I gathered just enough Southern cuteness to politely inform them that Thanksgiving is actually an American holiday and Ghana doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Hard to imagine but then she asked me something even more outrageous. “No Thanksgiving, so when are they showing they are thankful?” Lucky for both of us, by then my photos were ready and our conversation ended. I don’t know how I would have responded to such a level of ignorance.

My trade in the UPS store made me really think about the concept of our Thanksgiving celebrations. Now, of course, I am convinced that all of my subscribers are well aware that Thanksgiving is an American holiday. But I started to wonder how we perceive the day of thanksgiving. I wondered if we put so much emphasis on gratitude on the 4th Thursday in November, that maybe sometimes we miss it at other times.

Certainly, I have given Thanksgiving a lot of thought this year as it is a very unusual time for my family. My husband has business in Europe, our son is traveling with his varsity sports team and I am going to be in Africa. There will be no turkey, with cranberry sauce, not even a sweet potato pie, and yet I have never been so grateful for all the blessings God has bestowed on our family.

I made a conscientious choice not to relegate my focus on gratitude and gratitude to any particular day of the year. Instead, I take to heart what Paul asked us to do in 1 Thessalonians. Always rejoice and give thanks in everything at all times for it is the will of God. What I want for you is a safe and joyful Thanksgiving Day with all the trimmings, and a spirit of thanksgiving that lasts all year round.

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