Today, on this day, as we corporately and individually give thanks for our many blessings, there is so much for which I am thankful that I simply cannot list everything…yet I feel compelled to share with you some of that for which I give thanks.
I am thankful to be born in this country, free to write this and free to speak my mind. Free to practice the religion I choose. Free to follow and serve the God I love. Free to raise my family without living in fear for our lives. At times, when I reflect on how much our country has changed in recent years, I become anxious for what our country is becoming, what we’re leaving behind of it for you and your generation. I fear that we’re on a path leading to the destruction of the great country I’ve known for almost 40 years…that you will never know the country I knew, or that which our fathers and grandfathers knew. Yet I am thankful for the opportunity to live here, because even the poorest among our citizens are still wealthy when compared to citizens of the world.
I am thankful for that which I do not know…and those whom I will never know. I’m thankful for the son who stood the line and died beside his brother in arms in defense of freedom. I’m thankful for the father who, despite his fear and uncertainty, left his children and wife behind to serve in ways I’ll never comprehend. I’m thankful for the pilot who returned safely from hostile airspace, protecting from above other brothers, uncles, sons and daughters from danger close. I’m thankful for the sailor who provided a safe haven for those pilots in the waters around this world. I’m thankful for the soldier who safely crossed back inside the wire, though emotionally scarred for what he had to endure. I’m thankful for the moms, daughters and sisters who left their babies behind to fight for their future, and my own. There are so many acts of valor, courage, bravery, sacrifice and honor which we will never know, performed by people we will never meet for which we owe a debt we can never repay. I am thankful for the things paid forward to me.
I regret I did not have the courage to serve when it was my time, though I am thankful for a job that allows me to pay a little forward to someone else. When so many are without work, I am thankful for the opportunity to be productive and fruitful, using that which God has given me to help others…to help them navigate what is often the worst day of their lives. At times, I may take being a firefighter for granted, but at the core of my soul, I know I am truly blessed to be doing what I love…to be living every young boy’s dream job. I pray that as you grow into adulthood, you would be able to do the same…find a career doing what you are passionate about, regardless of what that is.
I am thankful for you. I may not always show it, but I am. Thankful for your mother in more ways than I can ever explain. Ways in which I pray you will know one day as you leave our nest to start families of your own. Each of you has blessed my life in ways I cannot fully comprehend. You each bring to our family a uniqueness that you alone own, and for that I am eternally grateful…blessed and thankful for each of you. I pray you will one day experience the joys of parenthood.
I am thankful for the things in life that seem small on any other day, but without which, life would be remarkably different. Things like,
Duct tape and WD-40
Running water and electricity
Butterfly kisses and big boy hugs
Dirt piles that entertain young minds for hours
Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner
Toenail clippers and soap
True friends with whom to share laughter and tears
Chocolate covered bacon
But above all else, I am thankful for a God who loves me enough…and wants me with Him in eternity so greatly…that He sent his Son to die an unimaginably brutal death for me. That He took my place in death so that I might join Him in Life. I can never imagine offering up any one of your lives to spare the life of someone else, yet God did that for me…and for you. It’s my prayer that if you don’t yet know Jesus as your personal Savior, that you would soon. Our time here is not guaranteed, and it grows shorter with every passing breath. In the end times, there is no mention of a great nation to the west…no rising up of a people or nation resembling ours. It’s up to you and I to keep this land we love free. That starts with taking stock of and recognizing ALL that we have to be thankful for…the big and the small…and acknowledging that today is not about the turkey at all.