Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?

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I remember a conversation I had while living in India. One of the men I befriended at the local gymnasium and I were talking about America’s different holidays. He explained the hundreds of Indian holiday and then asked me a very specific question, “Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?” As I explained to him the origins of the holiday which was established by President George Washington in 1789 to give thanks to God for His blessings. I told him it was a day that was set aside so we don’t forget to pause and thank the Lord for all He has done for us. After my explanation of the holiday he replied, “I think your country is great because you have a day to thank God for His blessing on your nation.”

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
— Psalm 107:1

Perhaps you may say, “I don’t have much to be thankful for!” You may be alone this holiday, your family may be in conflict and stress, your health may be declining or finances may be in need of repair. But the following statement will give you perspective you haven’t thought about. I do not know the name of the author, but the words cause reflection:

“If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world. If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy.”

We all have a lot to be thankful for. So, be sure to have an attitude of gratitude this holiday season.