I read about a family that traditionally began the evening meal with a prayer of thanks. When they were old enough, they began letting the children say the meal prayer. At first, they would ask for a pony, a new bike, etc., but they soon learned the more important things which should be included in the prayer.
One Thanksgiving, they had the whole family over. The nine-year-old son wanted to say the prayer. It went like this:
"Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the turkey, the rolls, the mashed potatoes, the red jiggly stuff, and the bread stuff even though I don't like it. We ask that You not let us choke on this food."
You have to admire the honesty of that little boy, and I also admire those parents who have instilled in their children an attitude of being thankful for everything. And yet, I wonder how often we adults struggle with the same thing. Tomorrow, those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving in this country will take time to be thankful for many things -- our family, our food, our homes, the freedoms we enjoy in this country and many other things.
But I wonder how many of us will include in our prayer of thanksgiving a thankfulness for the things we "don't like" -- the sicknesses of the past year, the financial struggles, the people we have trouble getting along with.
Paul said we are to be "giving thanks always for ALL things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:20). That includes the "various trials" we face (James 1:2) that strengthen us and help us to grow to maturity.
This Thanksgiving, may you truly be thankful for ALL things (even the yucky red jiggly stuff!).