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The Reason For Giving Thanks 11/23/2006

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving is that rare day in which Americans attempt to set aside petty complaints and assume an attitude of gratitude. In a nation where $3-per-gallon gas prices constitute "suffering," momentary gratefulness is no small feat.

I carry a long list of things for which I'm thankful. It encompasses my wife, three children and 11 grandchildren, the peaceful and prosperous nation in which I live, and the impact our organization has had on needy people around the world. For a boy born into poverty, violence and hopelessness, I can trace God's blessings in my life for over 60 years. I have every reason to be thankful.

But what about you? Do you pay lip service to this holiday or do you truly experience a deep sense of appreciation?

Life is beautiful, yet full of suffering. The first American pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts, yet they still gave thanks. President Lincoln -- arguably our country's most unpopular president while in office -- presided over a long, bloody Civil War; yet he still issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation. I would wager that our soldiers eating turkey in a desert tent appreciate their blessings as much or more than some ungrateful Americans huddled in their brick mansions.

You see, appreciation depends on your inner circumstances more than your outer circumstances. It's not your situation that determines whether you can be thankful. It's your state of mind. Actually, your heart.

Will Rogers said, "I used to complain that I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet." Happiness is relative; joy is constant. It is out of a grateful heart that gratefulness flows.

Thanksgiving is not only about giving thanks for something. It is also about giving thanks to someone. The Pilgrims understood this, as did our founding fathers. Unfortunately, many Americans refuse to acknowledge the hand of Providence on their lives and that naturally leads to ungratefulness.

If you are struggling to find something to be thankful for today, look to the book of Psalms. "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." The love and goodness of God outweighs all of man's misery.

So enjoy the food, family and feasts of this holiday, but remember that Thanksgiving is not about appreciating all of the tangible things that an affluent nation affords. It's about the One who will give us a joy greater than any of the world's riches. In Him, we can always be thankful.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 444

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.