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Thanksgiving, the inoculation against fear

These are difficult times. The recession is technically over, but few Americans are optimistic about the future. It’s little wonder when so many have lost their homes, their jobs. Storefronts are vacant. Our once-proud country is mired in debt, and individuals and businesses are facing the uncertainty of higher levels of taxation. Where do we go from here?

We go to our knees … in thanksgiving. Yes, this is the time to focus on what we have, not what has been lost.

We thank God for our family and friends, those we love and those who love us in return.

We thank God that we live in a nation where even our poorest citizens are considered “rich” by the rest of the world.

We thank God for a country in which we are free to go where we wish and say what we think, even though it may not be popular.

Today is the perfect day to remember those who have gone before us: the courageous early settlers, our uncompromising founders, the brave souls who gave their lives to win our freedom and those who died to keep it.

They never could have imagined that there would come a time when we would take our citizenship so lightly that only half of us would bother registering to vote. They never could have imagined a time when only half of our registered voters would bother to show up at the polls and that most of those casting ballots would be ill-informed.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to contemplate what a privilege it is to live here in the United States of America and recommit ourselves to the responsibility we have as citizens of this great country.

It’s not too late to bring this country back to its founding principles. It’s not too late to elect lawmakers pledged to upholding and defending “the Constitution,” not one that is constantly being rewritten and reinterpreted by overreaching jurists.

We thank God that we are free to worship Him and not bow down to a dictator.

We thank God that He created us in his very image and loved us so much that He allowed his only Son to come to earth and give His life that we might live with Him forever. Nothing we could own or ever hope to gain here on earth can compare to the assurance that we have a glorious heavenly home. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to recommit ourselves to spreading this good news.

And when this holiday celebration is over, and worry and uncertainty creeps back into our lives, we will do well to remember the apostle Paul’s four-part antidote he gave to the believers at Philippi, in Philippians 4:4-6:

  1. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Yes, praise Him, even for the trials you are facing. Remember, God has the big picture. He can turn those trials into stepping stones if you will allow it. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 29:11).

  2. “Let your reasonableness be known to all men.” In other words, keep your head. Analyze your situation. What are some positive steps you can take to make things better?
  3. “Be anxious for nothing,
  4. “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

    The most important thing to keep in mind is that prayer is a two-way conversation. After you have made your requests, take time to listen for God to give you some marching orders. Then, carry them to completion.

When we do these things, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).