Words and a grateful heart of thanksgiving


By Jackie Henderson

Special to The PREVIEW

The majority of what we hear from the media daily is disturbing. The effect is evident upon our population’s attitude. Like an old song said, “You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum. Bring gloom down to the minimum. Otherwise pandemonium is liable to walk upon the scene.”

Every day when I call my mom, she sings her version of a song from Bing Crosby’s movie, “On the Road to Morocco.”

“What did Noah say when everything looked so dark

“With Jonah in the whale and Noah in the Ark?

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive.

“Eliminate the negative.

“Latch on to the affirmative

“But don’t mess with mister in between.”

Words are powerful. James 3:5-8 (New Living Translation) says, “… the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself … It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison.”

We each can use our words to encourage others and influence them for Jesus. Take captive the thoughts from circumstances around us that take our focus off of who God is and the loving kindness and mercy He has shown us. Meditate on things that are of good report, true, praiseworthy and lovely. With an attitude of gratefulness, we can remember His blessings and trust Him.

Some words are a memorial. They can bring back memories forgotten.

On Oct. 3, 1863, in Washington D.C., President Abraham Lincoln gave this Thanksgiving Proclamation:

“The Year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

“In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

As Abraham Lincoln addressed in his proclamation, there is much to be thankful for, even in the midst of civil strife. We are reminded that God is our source of the bounties enjoyed in our nation.

Let every day be a day of giving thanks.

But the day we set aside to celebrate Thanksgiving is more than a day for watching football and more than the beginning of the Christmas holiday and the parade.

We can remember the goodness of God through Christ.

We can thank Him for He is in control.

We can get past doubt and worry and have faith and trust.

God always keeps His promises.