A few weeks ago, on a Saturday, Pam and I were home alone and decided to take a drive to Nance, Tenn.
That is where her father and mother are buried, in the Nance Church of Christ Cemetery. The small community is located near Alamo.
We put college football aside, which is normally how I spend a Saturday this time of year, and did something far more important.
It had to be one of the best afternoon road trips ever. We took the rural route, for the most part, not the interstate.
It was wonderful weather, and the farmers were either in the field or had been collecting their crops. We saw cotton pickers and large rolls of baled cotton all along our ride to the northwest. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
As I drove and observed the various scenes of nature, I felt relaxed and blessed. It was the best way to forget about the stress of the newspaper business for a few hours.
And it was great lead-in to the Thanksgiving holiday, a time hopefully everyone pauses to be thankful for their bountiful blessings and send those “thank yous” through prayer to the One to whom all praise is due.
Then Wednesday night of last week, I had the devotional at mid-week church services.
When Pam’s dad died 18 years ago, one of the things I inherited was boxes filled with sermon headlines. He was a Church of Christ minister for many years.
The one I chose for my devotional was entitled “Gratitude.”
From its early beginning, the emphasis at Thanksgiving has been to pause in the midst of activity and recognize that we ought to be grateful to God for all of our manifold blessings.
And it’s a special holiday – probably my favorite.
However, the Bible speaks of the expression of thanksgiving as not being so much in connection with a day of observance, but as a continuous attitude and disposition. We should continually be mindful of the benefits and blessings that are ours.
James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
We should never fall into the disastrous trap of just taking our blessings for granted. Particularly, don’t take those people who are the closest to you – spouse, parents, children, friends – for granted. Tell them you love them and that you appreciate them.
That brief ride into Tennessee and back on that recent Saturday, I believe, got me out of the trap.
I had been absorbed in work, football games and other such things. It was past time to get away and take a look at the countryside – only a small portion of God’s beautiful creation.
I grew up in the country, amidst the fields and the farmers.
I love walks on the beach with the waves of the ocean coming ashore.
I enjoy walking outside about midnight and looking up at the moon and the stars.
And I need to do those things more often.
From the Burleson family to your family, have a very happy Thanksgiving. Remember to be grateful for all blessings, the small ones too, and turn off the ball games and take a walk or go on a drive.
Jeremiah 33:11 – “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.”