THANKSGIVING

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About two weeks ago, I stopped at a roadside market to buy some apple cider. The clerk told me that Saturday was “Customer Appreciation Day”. I asked, “Isn’t today customer appreciation day?” She replied, “No, only Saturday.” I said, “I would think that every day is customer appreciation day.” She got the message and explained that they really do appreciate customers every day, but they show their appreciation on Saturday with special bargains.

That is what Thanksgiving Day should be like. We should be thankful every day, but it is good to set aside one day a year in which we can take time to thank the giver of every good gift.

Unfortunately, most people celebrate “T-Day” by being lazy, consuming large amounts of food and watching football games. Few give thanks before eating, let alone attend church.

We Americans complain about motel bills when we travel, but most of this world’s people don’t get vacations. And have you ever figured out how much you pay for your home? Rent or mortgage payments, taxes and utilities probably come to $50 or more a day!

Many families pay $200 per month for entertainment (cable TV can cost half that amount!).

We also complain about the high cost of “health care,” which is really quite the opposite. It is "sickness cure" that costs so much! If we had eaten less junk food and more healthy fruit and vegetables out of our own gardens, we would be able to afford medicine and health insurance, but few of us would need them.

The most valuable things in life are not things at all, and many of these are free. The air we breath and the water we drink cost little or nothing. God allows the rain to fall and the sun to shine on our fields and gardens free of charge, but we still complain about the high cost of living. Although some try, real friendship cannot be bought.

Many people see no reason to thank God for things they pay for out of their “hard-earned” salary, and who gives thanks for that which they get free?

We all complain about the rising price of fuel, but even our energy supply is a bargain. Oil, coal, gas and uranium are simply pumped or dug from the earth. And we have barely tapped the potential of our water- and solar power resources.

We lived 38 years in Austria where Thanksgiving is not a national holiday. It is only celebrated in churches which few attend. Austrians have very high expectations of themselves, and for this reason, they also expect more of others. High expectations are seldom met, so many Austrians see no reason for giving thanks or even feeling thankful. The suicide rate in Austria is one of the highest in the world, partly because of unfulfilled expectations.

Americans too have high expectations, but not necessarily of themselves. They expect much of government, employers, employees, manufacturers, society and churches. The big word today is “entitlement.” And if people don’t get what they think they deserve, they sue.

Although we Americans have more material blessings than any other nation on our planet, few are satisfied. TV advertisements tell us we deserve more and we buy it.

“T-Day" is for many the only day of the year on which they don’t go shopping. But it is followed by “Black Friday.” That is another name for “Customer Appreciation Day.” On Black Friday, stores and malls are mobbed by greedy customers, who elbow their way to the best buys, loading shopping carts and credit cards to the limit.

You see, it will soon be Christmas, when everyone (except the one who has a birthday) receives expensive gifts.

Ralph V. Harvey