Today our house is a whirl of activity as my daughter and I cook, clean, and prepare our home for guests. I am looking forward to spending the holiday with my all of my children – including my son who is in the air force, my parents, and my brothers and their families. I pray it will be a time of sweet fellowship as we gather to share a meal and remember our blessings.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, but as I walk about our local super store, drive the streets of town, and look at the ads posted both in the papers and on-line, I am saddened to see that Thanksgiving has almost been replaced by another holiday celebrated on the same weekend – Black Friday. I see very little to remind us of the bountiful blessings for which even the poor in this country have to be thankful. Everywhere we are bombarded with ads that try to entice us to desire more and buy more of what we desire both for ourselves and those we love. Spend, spend, spend, is the message of the season; it has become the proclamation that has overridden the significance of the Thanksgiving holiday established by our forefathers as a time of remembering our blessings.

Thanksgiving is a time when many of us gather together to fill our bellies with abundance, but if we are not careful we forget to fill our hearts with the joyful fruit of gratitude; if we did, we might find we are far more content with what we already possess and remember how much we have that money cannot buy. Instead, after we have satisfied our appetite, we often spend the afternoon filling our minds and thoughts with things we do not have but would like to own. We covet the best deals on gifts for our loved ones as well as the best deals on gifts we purchase for those to whom we feel obligated to give while we forget or overlook those around us who are truly in need.

It is my prayer that even before Thanksgiving Day arrives and long after it passes, I will remember that true joy isn’t found in all the things we possess but in the heart that is thankful for all things.