Thanksgiving: The Antidote for Worry and Fear

Not since the Great Depression has there been such a time of economic uncertainty in this country and around the world. The stock market has taken a dive. Foreclosed homes dot the landscape. Companies are going out of business. Bankruptcies are commonplace. People are being laid off. The job market is drying up. Natural disasters have taken their toll. Our sons and daughters are in harm’s way, serving in far off lands. It is rare to find anyone, who has not been adversely affected in some way. You see fear, anxiety and worry on the faces of family, friends and co-workers.

We need this day of Thanksgiving to put our lives in proper perspective. Take comfort in these words penned by the Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr. in the late 1800s.

When upon life’s billows You are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged Thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings Name them one by one,
And it will surprise you What the Lord hath done.

It is helpful to remember how this holiday began. The first Thanksgiving that involved food was celebrated by the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower and landed off Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the fall of 1620. That first winter had taken its toll. Almost half the colony died. The following, year Governor William Bradford set aside three days of Thanksgiving in anticipation of the corn harvest to celebrate the progress of the little colony. The Pilgrims put aside their fears to thank God, give Him their allegiance and put their trust in Him.

Are you ever burdened With a load of care,
Does the cross seem heavy You are called to bear.
Count your many blessings Every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing As the days go by.

The best way to begin Thanksgiving Day is on our knees. Jesus gave us the model for prayer in Matthew 6:13. We are to approach God with adoration and thanksgiving for who He is and what He has done.

Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your blessings See what God hath done.

When we begin counting our blessings, we quickly see that the things most precious to us do not involve stocks or bonds, houses or bungalows, cars, motorcycles, planes or boats. When our time on this earth is drawing to a close, none of us will be saying, “I wish I had accumulated more things.”

When you look at others With their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised You His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings Money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven Nor your home on high.

No, when we are getting ready to meet our Creator, we will be wishing we had spent more time in an attitude of gratitude. In those times, we can be open vessels, used of God as conduits of His love. Before we bow our heads this Thanksgiving, let us reflect on what an attitude of gratitude really means.

If we truly love God, we will:

Hallow His name Matthew 6:9
Abide in His word John 15:7
Keep His commandments John 14:15
Love our neighbor Matthew 22:39
Love our enemies Matthew 6:44
Forgive our debtors Matthew 6:12
Pray without ceasing I Thessalonians 5:17
Spread the good news Matthew 28:19-20, I Peter 3:15
Trust in the Lord Jeremiah 17:7

If we do all these things, we will not be tempted to compromise our values, or wink at sin or tremble when the stock market falls below a certain level. (See Jeremiah 17:5-8)

So amid the conflict Whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged God is over all.
Count your many blessings Angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you To your journey’s end.

Look around you. The moral fabric which knit this country together for more than two centuries is being ripped apart. At this time, it is not only fitting and proper that we join our hearts together in prayer and thanksgiving, it is imperative! If we are truly thankful, this attitude will not be limited to one single day, but will become a way of life.

Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your blessings See what God hath done.

2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: The Antidote for Worry and Fear

  1. Dear Jane,
    Thank you for the message on counting our blessings Thanksgiving Day. I am the Elder for the Colorado Mayflower Society, and even in this group of people, some of them have forgotten where their Christian roots come from. Thank you for your Ministry.


  2. Jane,
    What a wonderful message. Thank you for reminding us that we should be counting our many blessings and praising God for them each and every day. Sometimes it’s too easy to wallow in worry instead of basking in our blessings. Thank you again for reminding us to put our lives in proper perspective.


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