Thanksgiving is the holiday to follow the song's advice: "Count your many blessings name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." It's not hard for us to count our blessings, is it? For many people thanksgiving marks the beginning of that five week Holy season in which gluttony is transformed from sin to sacrament. I mean, if God had meant for us to fast on Thanksgiving, He never would have created thirty pound turkeys.
When I first moved to Florida money was a bit sparse. I didn't think there would be a thanksgiving feast until I heard a radio ad: "Test-drive a new Buick and we'll give you a free turkey for Thanksgiving!" I drove to the dealer, kicked a few tires, test-drove a car, and then I spent an hour haggling on price. Finally, I said: "I'll have to think about it." As I came to the door, I said: "Oh, by the way what about my turkey?"
The salesman's eyes twinkled. He motioned for me to follow. We went outside around back to a large pen with about ten full grown turkeys. With a flourish he said: "If you can catch one, you can have him!" I said: "Just a minute, went into the showroom, grabbed two coat hangers, made a hook, caught a turkey by the leg and was on my way. Then while enjoying my meal, I remembered my Uncle saying: "There are those who take things for granted and those who take things with gratitude." And I thought: "That's it! Thanksgiving is really something that has to be caught."
An elderly couple, Georgia and Fred sat down to their Thanksgiving dinner. As they were eating, Georgia asks: "Fred has our fifty years of marriage made you grateful?" He replied: "Yes indeed! It has made me so thankful for the twenty years I was a bachelor.
The song reminds us to "Count our many blessings name then one by one." But sometimes we might feel like Fred and giving thanks is the last thing we feel like doing, and therefore we think that we have a right to say: "This is the day that the devil has made, let us complain and be miserable in it." Oh really! Think a moment about Robert Green. After a head on traffic collision, he spent months in a coma, then, more than a year in rehabilitation. During this grueling and painful time, Robert wrote a letter to his mother saying: "I have ten different reasons to be thankful." Here are three items from his thanksgiving list: "I am thankful that I have strong arms. This helps me move with the wheelchair and with the crutches. I am thankful for the future for it holds not a promise but a challenge and an opportunity. I am thankful for God who has given me life."
Green is a person who has caught the spirit of Thanksgiving. A Swedish proverb says: "Those who wish to sing can always find a song." Therefore Count your blessings, name them one by one and if you do then on Thursday and every day you will be able to say: "Thanks be to God.