My favorite column to write is the Thanksgiving Day column. We have so much to be thankful for.
How amazing that a few pilgrims 400 years ago landed on the grim and gray shores of America, scrounging a hard scrabble existence, living month to month and happy for the freedom to be who they wanted to be, think what they want to think and worship the Lord as they saw fit.
We are indeed blessed.
There are very few Americans in the 21st century who do not live better than King James VI did 400 years ago. The highest and mighty back then were hapless victims to unseen bacterium and undeciphered diseases that could render all their power irrelevant.
The kings and queens sweated in the heat and shivered in the winter. Our preferred room temperature is only a few steps march to the thermostat. Men would die of thirst for knowledge and a few stained parchments. We click our remote and have the entire world in living color at our fingertips.
By far the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity is the United States of America today. This is true not just for our material abundance, but for our spiritual abundance as well. I still cannot walk into a grocery store without being in a state of awe. Just around the grocery store is sure to be a beautiful church ready to provide the same level of nourishment to the soul that the grocer provides to the stomach.
Ah Mississippi, poor Mississippi, smack dab in the heart of the fastest growing region of the wealthiest country in the history of the world. Yet we think nothing of moaning and groaning about our problems.
I thank God for living in an era of Christianity in a state still loyal to Christ. Before Christ, we lived like animals and watched men slaughter one another for sport. But today in Mississippi, I sit each Sunday surrounded by men and women who are trying to follow Christ’s teachings of love, compassion, humility and obedience.
I thank God I am no longer the father of three teenagers. I’m not home free, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Parenthood is challenging. They don’t come with instructions and each one is different.
I thank God for a family business and a career that I love, for the ability to write each week and still be in business, and to be able to live and put down roots in the state of my great-great-great-great-grandfather’s birth.
I thank God for my friends who have stood by me over the years, putting up with my idiosyncrasies and helping to create the fabric of my life, cheering me up when I was down and always listening and supporting.
I thank God for the political stability of America, where there is justice, peace and prosperity. I don’t live in fear of my life or property. I am not the pawn of tyrants. I have personal dignity. I have my liberty and my freedom.
I thank God for our free enterprise system where a man can work hard and prosper, or work less hard and enjoy a more leisurely, less materialistic life. We each can make our personal choice.
I thank God for my health and the health of my family, and for our incredible medical system that allows us to live without constant fear of death and illness. I may be 59, but I can still play singles tennis with no pain (as long as I am willing to lose!)
I thank God every time I walk into a grocery store and see the aisles packed high with every form of food and drink a person could want or imagine.
I thank God for my wife is prettier today than when we married! I am thankful for her great sense of humor and her willingness to forgive.
I thank God for the great strides Mississippi has made over the last 40 years, that I was spared from the turmoil and strife of the Civil Rights Era, that a third of the people in our state have the freedom they were denied for so many years. I pray the progress continues rapidly until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.
I thank God for my house, for air conditioning, clean water, sanitation and medical services beyond compare.
I thank God I live in such a generous state where people give more money per capita to charity and churches than any other state in the nation.
I thank God for all our subscribers who have allowed me to have this perfect job for 27 years. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And I thank all the people at the Sun whose hard work and loyalty has made it possible.
I thank God for the growing prosperity throughout the world. When I was a child, people were starving in China and India. Now those countries are becoming developed. Hunger and disease are being reduced every year at a rapid pace. In another generation, poverty as we know it now will disappear.
I thank God for the beautiful weather we have in Mississippi with an annual average temperature of 65 degrees and beautiful seasons with abundant rainfall.
I thank God for the beautiful forests of our state, full of abundant wildlife. Every year, we do a better job of managing the environment.
I thank God for our beautiful beaches and mountain ranges and all the fascinating places in the world to visit.
I thank God for the pilgrims, who so desired religious freedom they risked their lives to sail across an unbelievably treacherous sea to start anew in an unknown wilderness. Without their courage and fortitude, there would be no Thanksgiving Day.
If those pilgrims, with so little, could be thankful, then surely we should be a million times more so.
Wyatt Emmerich is publisher of The Northside Sun in Jackson and owner of Emmerich Newspapers.