I’m pretty sure, if I have done the math correctly, that Thanksgiving is as late as it can possibly be this year. Nonetheless, the thoughts or awareness of gratitude should not be confined to a short season in November, like a Thursday and the couple of days before that. Even more to the point, it should not be confined to a “necessary pre-fix” to Black Friday, which in many cases is now being effectively turned into Black Thursday.
Gratitude — it leaves our field of vision so easily. I remember when I was teaching at Three Way, a district, now defunct, in rural Texas, about 45 minutes away.
Mike’s mother, Janie also worked there, and Mike, who was one of our juniors, had gone on a church mission trip to Mexico. A few weeks after they returned, I asked Janie how Mike’s trip had gone. She responded that it must have been great; he’d been grateful for a whole week after his return.
Janie was not being sarcastic, and Mike was not a difficult child; if anything, he was an above-average student and perceptive. The young man had simply reacted like an average teen, and like many of us adults frequently do. He’d experienced a rush of gratitude, and perhaps in some small way the mission trip changed his world, but all in all his world was still safe and secure, and taken for granted as we all do.
It’s a blessed accident of fate that Thanksgiving Day and Veterans Day fall in the same month, as each reminds us, in separate ways, of the debt which is owed and the price which is paid for certain blessings and privileges.
Beyond and behind the turkey, the Macy’s Parade, the football classics and the shopping frenzy which is really irritating, there is a real sense of appreciation that should go with the season. Beyond and behind the trappings, there should be an awareness of our place in the scheme of things, and of how many others must struggle in circumstances which we cannot imagine.
A simple viewing of the 10 p.m. news should remind us to bow our heads in gratitude.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at: