The year was 1944. Americans were exhausted. The losses and the victories of wars on two sides of the planet were stretching us thin. That winter was the coldest in European history, and the hardest for the Allies. We lived in Haddonfield, New Jersey.
I had never seen any road so grand. The White Horse Pike was three lanes wide made of broken, whitish concrete with grass growing liberally in all cracks and between lanes. Vehicles were with our troops in Europe or the Far East and common folk either walked, took a bus or rode a train everywhere. We were lucky. Grandpa had some extra gas coupons and during the war we rarely ever drove a car. Americans just could not afford cars while a war was raging and we saw only a few cars on this road.
Grandpa, being a farm boy at heart, was there to pronounce doom on a turkey for dinner. Turkeys were a North Eastern staple based on pilgrim tradition. No steroid-stuffed mass-produced fowl like today. And Grandma made creamed white onions, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans, dressing with celery and giblets, creamed fresh corn, stewed cranberries from nearby New Jersey bogs, plus pumpkin and mincemeat pies.
The rest of the year we had Spam and grated carrot salad, and once a week maybe a baked chicken. I got the leg. This meal was a real change of diet.
In our small town there were no working age men and very few young women. My parents were off doing war work, my mother taking the train home for an occasional weekend. Those were dark times.
But we were thankful. We could see the end of the war. God had spared us bombs on our homeland. We were a praying people and we knew God had made this possible. The first sign of sin, says Romans, is lack of gratitude. We are missing a lot of that today.
Romans 1:21 although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Now 75 years later we are digging out of another war – a war against the Constitution, against people of faith, against prosperity, against morality, against anything God ever said. This time we cannot be sure we will win. Most everyone has enough to eat, people have cars, TVs and rights, and sometimes free healthcare. But they lost the greatest things because their nest was so full of toys. They lost the ability to be thankful.
Thanksgiving weekend is not “turkey day,” or football game day, or get out at 3 a.m. to shop at the big box store day; it’s the day we notice that God made all this possible to hard workers, sincere pray-ers and moral believers. And to those who thank him.
Only two nations celebrate a day of giving God Thanks – Canada and the US. And if you’ll notice the statistics, these are two of the most prosperous nations on earth. I doubt if this is a coincidence.
No it can’t be. God hears real prayers from His people and when He does He responds with blessings.
This year, notice that each generation has its wars, its tests, its victories and failures. They come in different packages but they are all for our instruction. Let us be thankful.