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A Day to Be Grateful

Gratitude is the antidote to adversity. It may seem paradoxical to give thanks in times of want, yet what better time to count one’s blessings?

Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan

There is something uniquely American about the Thanksgiving holiday. Canada has its own Thanksgiving, but few other countries set aside a day to be grateful.

We all know about the Pilgrims and how the Wampanoag Indian tribe saved them from starvation, the occasion of our first Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until 1863, however, that Thanksgiving was made a national holiday by presidential proclamation. Thanksgiving was not a legal holiday until 1941, when Congress passed legislation proposed by FDR.

I can’t help but note that these dates came at some of the darkest and most trying hours of our history. The Plymouth Colony nearly perished that first winter, and 1863 was the bloodiest year of the Civil War. In 1941 the world was in the grips of the Great Depression and the US was on the brink of entering a terrible war already raging in Europe. Yet it was at these moments that great leaders like Lincoln and Roosevelt rallied the American people in the name of gratitude.

Gratitude is the antidote to adversity. It may seem paradoxical to give thanks in times of want, yet what better time to count one’s blessings? When are we more acutely aware of the gifts God gives us than when times are tough? Our country has been passing through a difficult period and many Americans have struggled. But we are a blessed people who are never more grateful than when we triumph over life’s challenges and reap its rich rewards.

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