"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
~H. U. Westermayer
Thanksgiving, the holiday came with a great price paid by many who were willing to sacrifice safety and comfort, even though religiously oppressed, to come to a New Land and establish a way of life that honored God. "Seven times more graves than huts," Westermayer states. You do the math. It wasn't a good time for those that came with great vision. And yet, it was here the idea of Thanksgiving was begun.
I think most people know Joni Eareckson Tada. She is the lady in a wheelchair that paints pictures with a brush in her mouth. Yes, that's the one! Well, she is also a very enlightened lady in a wheelchair who paints with a brush in her mouth! She would be the first one to tell you how thankful she is for the accident that took place in 1967 that left her as a quadriplegic. In Secret Strength, Joni writes, "Being a quiadriplegic means I have no use of my hands or legs. Like my friend, I need someone else to floss my teeth or hold a cup to my lips so I can drink. Somebody has to tuck in my blouse when it pulls out of my slacks. If I get too hot someone has to reach for the ice or the fan. Someone has to help me in and out of bed. There's hardly an hour of the day that I don't rely on the willing hands and feet of others.
"But I've learned not to be so shortsighted about my disability and the people who help me. It is Jesus who feeds me my sandwich...after all, He's the one who provides that friend sitting next to me, just as He provides the food. It is Jesus who lovingly works through my husband when he helps me in bed at night. And it is Jesus who brings people to help me in the morning.
"No, my hands and legs don't work. But like Paul, I've learned to see that these things have happened that I might not rely on my own meager, personal resources. These things have happened that I might lean my full weight on the power, presence, and provision of my Lord.
"I do need Jesus. And if I ever ask you to help me with a sandwich or hold a coffee cup for me, I'll smile my thanks at you...but give Him the glory."
Our Bible/Book club meets on Mondays at 1pm. During one of our discussions, we talked about what we would say if we could sit in a restaurant with Jesus. What would we ask Him? One said that she would ask Him, "why did He die for me?" As we went around the table, it occurred to me that I had always thought I would have tons of questions for Him (you know, that mental list to check off). But, as I have been made to realize through our study and through a program that I am going through, all that is worth saying is just to say....thanks.
So, please remember to be mindful this holiday season and "show" your thanks for all the you have, all that you are in Christ and love on others, especially those that may be hard to love in your life. Jesus said it is easy to love those that love you, but try loving on those not easy to love....try it and be blessed.