“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.                     ~Melody Beattie

What is popularly commonly known as the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. It became an annual tradition in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed this national day of Thanksgiving, setting aside time for Americans to reflect on their blessings.

But, too often, in the hustle and bustle of dinner preparations, parades, football games, and shopping preparations we neglect to take the time to enjoy our time with family and friends or to express words of thankfulness and gratitude for the love and happiness we experience in our lives. It is often healing to take a few moments to reflect on those things we are grateful for, even during difficult times or times of pain. Thanksgiving has the power to draw people together, creating a lasting sense of peace, togetherness, and community.

Roshi Joan Halifax in the Legacy of Wisdom states that the secret of life comes down to three words: “… appreciate your life”. She and Brother David Steindl suggest that practicing gratefulness will help us to accept what is in the now, allowing us to experience joy and life outside of ourselves and our own suffering.

But many may struggle to find gratitude or express words of thanks while caring for a loved one with serious illness this Thanksgiving Day. Gratefulness may seem like a foreign word for those that grieve the loss of a loved one this holiday. May we each take a moment to reach out, express our own words of gratitude for each of them, and offer a helping hand to those who are hurting today. May each of us take a few moments today to count our simple blessings.

As I count my blessings on this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks for …Our wonderful children and grandchildren, Janet’s mother, and other family members and their health and happiness; our friends and the support they provide us during good times and bad; and our Chino Valley Family, and the joy and caring they have brought to our lives

We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving Day. May the beauty of Thanksgiving bring peace and abundant blessings to you and your family today and every day.

Pastor Mike

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