Thanksgiving traditionally starts off the Holiday Season which of course incudes Christmas and New Year’s. Non-Christian religions are also celebrating: Jews have Hanukah, African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa.
Thanksgiving usually includes being thankful for your family, friends and the blessings of enough food, shelter, jobs: a time of realizing we are fortunate.
Christmas for us is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Master Teacher, giving to others, love of humankind.
On New Year’s many folks make resolutions to be better people or lose weight or stop this or start that.
For me New Year’s causes me to think about appreciating my life and the things that make life comfortable. I think about gratitude.
Gratitude is a word that apparently does not appear In the Bible. At least not so far as is listed in Strong’s Concordance. And yet gratitude is a word that has been on my mind lately.
I have been thinking about things in my life I appreciate during the New Year Holiday. I thought about my parents’ lives and what they had to do before going to bed at night in winter. They had to shake down and remove the ashes from the heat chamber to the bottom of the furnace and then shovel them into a metal bin so any that were hot would not catch fire; then they stoked or loaded the furnace, – it was coal – which had to be shoveled into the furnace belly so that it would hold the fire during the night without getting too hot, adjust the damper on the exhaust pipe to limit the draft intake yet keep the embers hot enough in the morning to catch and light the morning load of coal to keep the house heated. They also had to carry the ashes outside sometimes using them on icy sidewalks instead of salt. We enjoy central gas forced air heat or possibly an electric heat pump heat with a thermostat set at a comfortable temperature and Voila – the house holds at that temperature. No coal to shovel or load, no ashes to carry anywhere, just a comfortably heated home. I am grateful for my heat.
I am also grateful for my electricity which nearly never fails. No candles to burn down or have to be carefully watched for the sake of safety. Just flip the switch and it is light in whatever location of the house I wish to sit.
I am grateful for my hot water and indoor plumbing. Warm bathrooms: none of the more primitive things they and all the previous generations had to deal with – adults went outside to the “privy” and children frequently in winter or during the night would use containers which had to be carried out and emptied in the morning. I am grateful for my indoor plumbing and hot water.
When I was in my teens I stayed on a farm in Union County Ohio just outside of Plain City. Gusty had a cast iron wood burning cook stove – she could cook anything without burning it. It projected heat throughout the kitchen and close areas in the winter. She also had a free standing propane gas heating stove in the living room. In summer she had a propane three burner stove that didn’t add so much heat in the house when she cooked. There wasn’t air conditioning except maybe in commercial buildings in those days.
Mom had a gas range that stood on four legs with the oven on the left side and the burners on the right side in our kitchen when I was small. I have an electric range with a self-cleaning oven. I also have central air conditioning in my home. I am grateful for both.
How many things that have changed our lives so drastically have occurred in just a generation or two. We take television for granted these days and the younger generation can’t imagine a black telephone with a dial and a cord on the receiver, much less the cord that attached to a little box on the wall where the “service” came into the house.
At Thanksgiving we give thanks for the people in our lives, the “harvest” that provides a filling specially prepared meal and comradery with our friends and families. We remember those who aren’t with us in person at the table and reminisce about times past. But, we don’t really give thanks for the other marvelous things that make our lives so easy.
Dishwashers, automatic clothes washers and dryers – how many can remember wringer washers? Everything has evolved rapidly even in our own lifetime and continues to do so.
Do we take the time to be grateful for our blessings? Our lives are much less strenuous these days – today for exercise people pay to join or visit a gym for a work out. In those days just plain living and getting anything done was a workout!
I am grateful for these things that my parents and grandparents would have thought impossible. I don’t take them for granted! And yet with all of this, it is important to remember it is all just “stuff” – compared to realization that spirit lives and communicates with us, knowing that spirit is around and about us every day of our lives and we are never alone, that there is no death…these teachings are miracles in our lives and we shouldn’t take them for granted any more than we take our conveniences for granted.
I am most grateful for what I have been taught, have tested and accepted and affirmed as truth. I am grateful for the interaction I have been blessed to have with Spirit, the knowledge life does go on and my loved ones are always around and about me. They still love me and I still love them. Infinite Intelligence is always around and about me, guiding, guarding and protecting me so that I am never alone and need never be lonely. Spirit is real. Spirit is alive. I am most grateful for that knowledge. May you relax and feel confident that spirit is as close to you as your breath. Be grateful of the knowledge you are always protected and loved. God bless.