Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the year of our Lord 2022. There will be a myriad of celebrations that include traditional family gatherings, meals, and parades. There will be games and a marathon of watching football on TV. There will be various types of gatherings tomorrow. That is all good.
However, I often wonder how many of those celebrations focus on the blessing of the LORD. Last year and this year my celebration is somewhat smaller in scale since my wife went home to heaven in April of 2021. This year will be a small gathering and my focus will be on the blessings of life that God has provided and allowed me to enjoy.
As I reflect on my life, I have much to be thankful for and remind myself frequently just how blessed I am. I hesitate to make this personal but would like to share some of my life’s journey and the reasons that I am Thankful and make Thanksgiving a Day of Giving Thanks.
I was born in the late 40s in Pasadena, Texas. My dad worked for the Goodyear Rubber Plant and had the best job he ever held in his life as far as pay and benefits were concerned. Shortly after I was born, I developed health problems that required my parents to take me to the doctor virtually weekly, and even with the tests they conducted were unable to determine the root cause of my health issues. At one point the doctors told my parents that I would not likely live to be a teenager.
I do not doubt that my health concerns and the fear of losing a child weighed heavily on both of my parents, especially my mother. When I was a little less than two-years-old, one of my grandparents, in East Texas, became sick and my mother took me and my baby sister to take care of them. We were there for about two weeks and my dad noticed that I appeared to be better. I suppose the LORD put the question in his mind that caused him to ask the doctor if he thought I would be better and possibly recover if I was not in Pasadena. The doctor’s response caused my dad to send my mother, my baby sister, and me to East Texas for a more extended visit.
The amazing thing is that during that time I got definitively better and as a result my dad quit his job and moved the family to Grapeland, Texas where in a matter of months I fully recovered. It seems that the atmosphere in Pasadena was causing my health issues and in East Texas, my body was able to restore itself. The toddler that was not expected to live past his teens is now well into his 70s and still active and healthy. That provides several reasons to be Thankful. Health, God’s Grace, Loving Parents, and the privilege to live in the country in rural East Texas.
There are so many things in my teen years that I won’t get into. But when I went to Vietnam in 1967 there was an event that impacted me powerfully. I was not living for God when I went to that war. Upon arrival in the bay leading to the river to Saigon, our orders were to proceed via the ship I was on to deliver some goods to the base in Saigon. As we anchored in the bay, I heard a voice say to me, “You are about to die!” No one but me heard the voice and while some will say that it was just my jitters about being there, I know better. I almost fainted and the medical staff questioned me, but I would not divulge what had just happened.
In a matter of minutes, our orders changed, and we were rerouted to DaNang. A merchant ship took our place. About two hours later a radioman came out of the radio room and said, “You will never guess what happened.” He then informed me that the ship that took our billet number and our place had taken enemy fire and everyone in the location I would have been positioned was killed. That voice was telling the truth, I was about to die, but God protected me, even though I was not living for God. For that, I am eternally grateful and very thankful. There were other times I was spared in that country, and I look back on the experiences with gratitude and a heart filled with Thanksgiving.
I have had experiences where the automobile I was riding in was miraculously spared from a collision that would have likely resulted in my death. I have been on airplanes that were eerily near a collision, and I was spared. I had parathyroid cancer and God miraculously healed me. The medical doctor was the one who used the term miracle in detailing my situation. I have had broken bones supernaturally healed and medical conditions reversed through prayer. God has repeatedly kept me alive and for that, I am eternally grateful and thankful. So, I have much to be thankful for and Thanksgiving is a Day of Giving Thanks for me.
I have a loving family and enjoyed a loving marriage with the most wonderful woman in the world. I have a very nice home, and a good vehicle to drive, and God has provided the needed income for me to live and pursue His purposes. I am not wealthy in this world’s goods, but I am the richest man on the planet because of God, faith, family, and the freedom I have enjoyed. Therefore, Thanksgiving is truly a day of Giving Thanks to me.
I do not mean this as a slight toward any other country, but I feel blessed to have been born in America and lived here my entire life. I weep for those who are enslaved in despotic tyrannical nations and do not know freedom or the prosperity we have enjoyed. I weep for the many deceived people in my nation who do not know the truth of God’s Love and do not enjoy His guidance and grace. I am a blessed man. I have wonderful children, an incredible extended family, and deep-abiding friendships that are lasting. I get up every day and say, “Thank You!” to the Lord.
What do we have to be thankful for? Let me sum it up with a poem that I wrote in the 90s, more than 25 years ago.
Thanksgiving Is For Thanks Giving
Long before Halloween had arrived in the Fall
Christmas Decorations filled every Mall.
We no longer celebrate one Holiday at a time
And to me, that seems such a moral crime.
The commercial side seems to overrule
And we the citizens must play the fool.
No one seems to care at all
That Thanksgiving is also in the Fall.
I offer this plea to all who enjoy living
Remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving.
It is for the Bountiful Life and the Gift of Love
Sent to man from God above.
But Thanksgiving seems to be a thing Long Forgotten
In a land where we have been spoiled rotten.
We take for granted our very lives,
Not to mention parents, children, husbands, and wives.
Therefore, I offer this plea to all who enjoy living
© Roy Beaird 2006
Remember Thanksgiving is for Thanks Giving!
God bless you and may you enjoy the most wonderful Thanksgiving you have ever experienced tomorrow. May you be cognizant and vocalize your thanks to God and to those in your life for all that you have been given. If you know love, you are rich in treasures that this world knows nothing of. It is not the material things that make you rich but those things that money cannot buy.
God bless you! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!