Originally created 11/27/03

The texture of gratitude

The Iraqi people no doubt feel thankful for certain things. Most are thankful to have seen Saddam Hussein's statue and regime toppled.

But they will never have Thanksgiving. And while many Iraqis appreciate what has happened this year, many others will never be sufficiently thankful for the freedom our men and women have fought so hard and sacrificed so much to give them.

That part - the gratitude for the blood, sweat and tears of our troops - is up to us.

That's as it should be.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a uniquely American celebration - perhaps as much so as the Fourth of July.

And while July 4th is Independence Day, Thanksgiving might properly be called "Dependence Day." For, while we take inventory of our many blessings, we see how truly dependent we are.

Dependent on each other for love, concern and compassion.

Dependent on our military and law enforcement to protect and defend us.

And dependent on Almighty God for the many graces He has bestowed on our great nation.

Truth be known, for those cognizant of God's many blessings, every day should be Thanksgiving.

You know, there may be a very practical reason for sunrise and sunset to be such spectacular displays of divine artistry: The blazing shades of red and orange and pink of each dawn and each dusk are brilliant reminders of what a gift every day is.

We may want on any particular day, at any particular time. We may yearn desperately for love or food or comfort or shelter. But over time, God always blesses us with what we need. Not what we think we want, necessarily, or precisely when we think we have to have it. Remember that God is forever; He is working on His own timetable.

We must remember these things every day, and certainly every Thanksgiving. But on this Thanksgiving, we should be especially mindful of our eternal debt to those who have laid down their lives in order to protect the lives of our families and friends. And to those men and women who have volunteered to do so if necessary and who, today, are apart from their own loved ones in order that we may spend the day at peace with ours.

Gratitude, the fabric of which this day is embroidered, is a beautiful thing indeed. Gratitude illuminates the bearer. It infuses him with the wisdom of knowing his blessings, and with the humility of realizing how empty his life would be without them.

Whether you have little or plenty in material wealth, remember that no one in the world can have all that you have. The love. The freedom. The unique blessings God has carved out for each of us.

Don't just count your blessings today. Wrap yourself in them. Warm yourself with them. Let their texture humble you. And wear them long after today.

May God continue to bless you, this country and the men and women who would do anything to protect it.


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