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Reflections on Thankfulness

Locals have their thoughts on holiday

 

Thursday is Thanksgiving, the holiday that sometimes seems sandwiched between Halloween (the sometimes zany holiday) and Christmas (the often overly commercialized one).

But Thanksgiving has its roots in the beginnings of American history. It is a holiday created by Americans for Americans. Two area clergy share their thoughts on the holiday and the importance of giving thanks.

 

DR. DOUGLAS CARTER

Pastor, First Baptist Church of Burlington

If we have a holiday set aside to be thankful, then does that mean we’re a thankful people? Carter said this is one area we as a people may need to work on.

“I don’t think we’re as thankful as we need to be,” Carter said. “I think we thank each other and then forget where it all comes from. It all comes from Christ.”

He lamented that there will be people on Thanksgiving who gather around the dinner table and don’t even bow their heads to thank God for the food they are about to eat, much less the other blessings they have been given.

Carter said he thinks people are not as thankful as they should be because, the most recent economic downturn not withstanding, Americans today have had it easier than their forebearers who suffered through the Great Depression and then World War II.

They have not had everything taken away from them and therefore they do not know what its like to be totally without, he said.

“We’re never grateful until we come through hard times. Sometimes God has to take us through hard times before we are really grateful for what we have,” he said.

Carter said we should be thankful for the liberties this country offers, such as freedom of speech a freedom often used and maybe sometimes abused.

Carter said he is thankful for his wife and children. He said we should be thankful for our family and friends and for our community, because the people who raise us make us what we are.

Carter said parents should teach kids from an early age to be thankful and not take for granted what they are given. He said the best way to teach them is to set an example of gratitude ourselves.

“Children learn what they see,” Carter said.

Thankfulness, he said, should be a daily and not a yearly thing.

“We should be thankful every day to God and not just when we want something,” Carter said.

Carter said he is also thankful that someday, when he leaves this earth, he is going to see the God to whom he gives his earthly thanks.

“He has prepared a place for us,” Carter said. “And I give thanks for that.”

 

FATHER DAVID HUFFMAN

Pastor, Ironton Catholic Community

Huffman said our thankfulness should start with giving thanks to the God who created us and the one from whom all other blessings flow.

“We need to be thankful that everything comes from Almighty God, that’s number one and everything should return to him in the form of our thanks,” Huffman said.

Huffman pointed out the very essence of the Roman Catholic Mass is thankfulness. In fact, the word Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is Greek for thanksgiving. Eucharist, celebrated with bread and wine, is Christ’s way of sharing himself with us.

“That is how he chose to remain with us, the same gift he gave at the last supper,” Huffman said.

Are people today less thankful than they should be? Huffman said he thinks people today get caught up in so many things that even though they may be thankful for the blessings in life, they don’t take the time to openly express it as they should.

Thankfulness should not only be taught, it should be practiced. Huffman said gratitude needs to be taught to children at a young age and thankfulness needs to be in our teachings and our own thoughts.

“We need to keep at it from the beginning,” he said.

He said people who are courteous and thankful have a great impact on those around them.

What should we be thankful for?

“Our faith,” Huffman said, “our family, our friends, food and everything else that goes with it. God is first, and then everything else falls in the right order.”

One thing Huffman said he is thankful for is his ability to serve his church and his God, something he has been doing nearly 40 years. And he said he is thankful to be serving the Ironton-Pine Grove Catholic community.