By Connie Hinnen Cook
When you woke up this morning
And washed your sleepy face,
Did you think to pause a minute or two
And thank God for His grace?
Or when you stepped outside today
And you saw that big blue sky,
And that shinin' sun that smiles on you
Like the Lord was sayin' "Hi"...
Did you stop to pray and thank the Lord
For the good He sends your way,
For His matchless love and His endless grace
That He pours out every day?
How would you rate at the Pearly Gate
If God said, "Don't you know...
You've as many days as you filled with praise
When you walked down there below!"
Would you get to spend just a short weekend
Or a half a dozen worth,
If He let you stay for each single day
That you thanked Him while on earth?
While it sure is great that we celebrate
What we call Thanksgiving Day,
And it's fun to see all the family
And to watch the children play...
Still, it just seems odd that we thank our God
Only when Thanksgiving's here,
For it seems to me giving thanks should be
EVERY day throughout the year!
Let's hear it for the cyber spirit! The spirit of giving is alive and well in cyber space. Notice the number of computer and internet gurus on the following list:
Thank you for the lovely poem, Les. The article below, though no poetric, contrasts all of this nicely, and I think is quite a bit to ponder this holiday week. I would be interested to know what all of you think of it.
The Thankless Generation
Hans Zeiger (archive)
Of all the holidays in the year, Thanksgiving is perhaps most incompatible with the moral dispositions of Generation Y.
It is not that we refuse to partake of the turkey and mashed potatoes, nor that we refrain from watching the football games on television. Rather, we are ungrateful for most everything we have.
We are a thankless generation.
I may sound like a pessimist, but my premise is basically positive. My generation is materially blessed beyond what any other generation before us has ever had.
A typical, middle-class 18-year-old is endowed with a fairly new car with a fancy stereo system, a cellphone, his own television, a college education paid for by his parents and the government, access to fast food 24 hours a day, a laptop computer with Internet access, a ticket to the R-rated movie on Friday night, cultural license to engage in gratuitous sex, political license to attain an abortion, and social independence whereby he or she can easily avoid the constraints of organized religion.
Run-on sentences are discouraged, but run-on blessings are taken for granted by Gen Y.
We have the right to entertainment, the right to contraception, the right to feel good about ourselves, the right to employment, the right to education, the right to file lawsuits, the right to health care, the right to forsake intellectual matters, and the right to hate spiritual matters.
Obviously, it is not because we are deprived of anything to be grateful for that an entire generation lacks the distinguishing features of heartfelt thanksgiving.
Instead, it is just the opposite. The vast abundance of material wealth, opportunity, fun and enjoyment at our disposal is seen as nothing more than the product of our own mighty existence. As a result, we are a selfish generation that presumes it is enough to thank ourselves for being alive by seeking the various instant gratifications available to be consumed.
The problem is not that we have nothing to be thankful for. The problem is that we have forgotten whom to thank. In short, we have forgotten God.
Only 30 percent of American high-school seniors consider religion very important, according to the 2002 National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina. That leaves 70 percent of us not caring about the source of our blessings.
I am reminded of Abraham Lincolnís famous proclamation of Thanksgiving during the midst of the Civil War. He wrote:
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthen us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"
If America had forgotten God 140 years ago, we have consciously despised Him today. Thanksgiving was once a religious holiday, but as with most religious things, our culture has demeaned it into a celebration of secularism.
Of the 4.5 million occurrences of the word "thanksgiving" on a Google search, fewer than 1 million have "God" in the context. The words "food" and "turkey" appear with far more regularity than the name of God in shared hits with "thanksgiving."
The only alternative to thanking God is selfishness. Today, it is rare that we even take time to consider that America's blessings of prosperity, freedom, justice, peace and opportunity are gifts from a mighty and gracious God.
Hans Zeiger is a conservative activist and Seattle Times columnist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
©2003 Hans Zeiger
Talia, the thing that struck me about the philanthropist list, besides the sheer magnitude of Bill Gates generosity, was the lack of commitment of the other top 3 wealthiest people in the world.
I'm talking about investor, tycoon Warren Buffet. He could surely give more than 1 per cent of his 25 billion without feeling the pinch. And also the Walton's, there combined wealth amounts to more than 100 billion. They could surely spend a couple percent to fight diabetes, or heart disease.
You are truly right. It seems people think they only have to give if they can "afford" it, but giving is supposed to be a "sacrifice". People who have little and give much in comparison to thier wealth, give less than the poop little "widow's mite".
Talia, I read somewhere that gratitude is the shortest-lived of all the primary human emotions.
Perhaps, and to some, gratitude never exists.