Give Thanks

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
The giving of thanks is habitual in American culture. Children are taught (though perhaps less diligently now than in past generations) to say “thank you.” Checkout clerks, receptionists, and others who deal with the public are trained to thank their customers. Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Though there is always the possibility of such regular expressions becoming mere “rote,” or meaningless ritual, many, if not most, of those we give and receive are quite sincere.
In South Asia, and perhaps other parts of the world, the expression of thanks is not customary. They simply do not say “thank you” regularly. I cannot judge whether they feel gratitude, but little is publicly stated. I find this a significant difference, and being there for several months at a time, it is always a treat to return home and to see and hear the thankfulness of others commonly expressed.
Obviously, it is a special treat to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Our predecessors in this country did many wonderful things in establishing our freedoms and methods of life. One of those wonderful things was to think to pause and thank our Creator, publicly and in concert, for all the blessings which he has given us. I pray that we in America will always follow that tradition.

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