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Thanks to the Creator

Now, since Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, don’t tell me that you didn’t expect a column on “things for which I am thankful.”

So, before you read on, know that I will be certain to mention Jesus Christ, my risen Lord and Savior, and if you feel offended by that, turn the page.

For those who choose to read on; I think it is appropriate to think about the origins of the holiday on which we get a day off from work and we all sit down to tables groaning with all the foods that are traditional in our families. For most of us, that means turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, potato salad and everything from pickles to punkin’ pies. For that, we should be grateful. Some people are not so blessed.

There are others, besides those unfortunates, who will not sit down to feast, but instead they will be giving of themselves so that others are blessed. The 14 representatives of the Golden Gates Interdenominational Disaster Relief Team will be on the road to Waveland, Miss. They will be accompanying a tractor/trailer load of cleaning supplies to those who are trying to save what’s left of their homes after Hurricane Katrina devastated their community.

In Gates County, volunteers will also be giving of their time on Wednesday to offer a tremendous Thanksgiving feast to the senior citizens. That takes place at noon at the Community Center. I am almost certain those folks will be thankful for their meal.

Also, since I know one of those who will be serving the meal, Index Advertising Representative Tammy Perry, I am sure they will also be thankful to be able to help the senior citizens. Tammy plans to give up a company Thanksgiving dinner to be able to serve the seniors. We can all be thankful for many people across Gates County who are givers like Tammy.

The tradition of Thanksgiving actually began as a New England holiday celebrating family and community. The harvest of 1621 was a bountiful one and colonists decided to celebrate with a feast — including 91 Indians who had helped the Pilgrims survive their first year. The Pilgrims were actually celebrating their survival through an intense winter in which 56 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower died from the cold.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed by every president after Lincoln. The date was changed a couple of times, most recently by Franklin Roosevelt, who set it up one week to the next-to-last Thursday in order to create a longer Christmas shopping season. Public uproar against this decision caused the president to move Thanksgiving back to its original date two years later. And in 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November, and here we are gathered for another feast.

I am thankful to God for so much. I take every good gift from God with a sense of gratitude, but I also take nothing for granted. On Thanksgiving Day, I will serve my family a wonderful meal and believe me when I say that it will be served with a big side dish of prayer and thankfulness.

There is one more thing I’d like to offer as a reminder. Never let the abundance of God’s gifts cause you to forget the Giver. Blessings are sweetest when won with prayers and worn with thankfulness.