Once a Year for Everything?

Grace Christian Huynh

After the pilgrims came to America, in the first year they were losing half of their people due to the harsh winter and they had nothing left except for a low supply of food and disease. By the second winter, they were prepared, thanks to God, who used the Native Americans to help them, for they had a successful crop, which enabled them to start a new life with freedom in good land. Together, with the Native Americans, the pilgrims held a feast to thank God, which is the origin of Thanksgiving.

Many people here in America learned this when they were in school, when they made turkeys out of paper or made Indian head bands with feathers on them. It’s something everybody knows. The thing that wasn’t taught in public schools is how to thank God for what you have. It’s simple to do, though. All that has to be done is to say, “Thank you God for what I have and what you have given me today, Lord,” from the heart. Why, then, do some Christians forget to say a simple gratitude to God?

At school, I always pray before I eat. When I do, I don’t gather my friends and hold hands and pray so that everyone in the cafeteria can hear me. I don’t need to do that. What I do is that I get my food, go to my table with my friends, sit with the food in front of me and pray silently to God in my heart. This doesn’t take too long. It takes me about a few seconds to say “Thank you Lord for the food today. Amen.” Even though God provided me something to eat every day, I also say my thanks to the cafeteria workers or my mom or whoever makes my food.

Think about this: Suppose you couldn’t breathe and your friend came and helped you and that friend had saved your life! You praise God for saving your life, which is the first and right thing to do, but what if you didn’t give your gratitude to your friend who took action and saved your life? How do you think your friend would feel? That is why it is important to not only be grateful to God, but also to other people.

I don’t only go to school on Thanksgiving. I go there five days a week and each day I have many things to be thankful about because of God and other people. Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only time I should be being thankful. It should be every day!

About two years ago, after my family moved here, in Texas, our Thanksgiving was a little different than another’s. My mother’s home business was just starting and so business was slow. After we had paid the rent and utilities for the house we only had enough money for a turkey leg and salad and rice, and somehow, that sustained the four people living in our house. Everyone was joyful and we were definitely thankful that we could eat such a fulfilling meal, even if it wasn’t a whole turkey! Then, we thought about the other people out there who don’t have anyone to enjoy Thanksgiving with or even any food to eat. We were even more thankful that we had a roof over our heads, at least a turkey leg to eat, and each other. This year, God gave us a great turkey and plenty of food to eat!

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

Whether you are rich and have many things to be grateful about or rather if you were a poor person with little things to be grateful about, think about this: What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? Maybe you would have been well off today… or not so well off! You might be hungry, jobless, naked, or even dead!

In conclusion, Thanksgiving is a great holiday to remember your friends, family, and God, but you shouldn’t just think about these things for one day. Every day, pray, be grateful, and try to bring God more into your life. God has given many things to you because He loves you, and you need to recognize that. Happy Thanksgiving!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Grace Christian Huynh

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