The blue curtains in Tom’s bedroom move just slightly from the window’s tiny opening while early dawn streaks across last night’s sky. November’s light chilly breeze disturbs Tom from his peaceful sleep as he awakes to find himself chilled from the window he had forgotten to close. Being as tired as he was however, his brown eyes closed and again he was asleep. Minutes and seconds ticked away one half hour of time before Tom was re-awakened by the cold. Forcefully he ripped from himself the warm blankets and sleepily walked over to the window. While Tom gave his first glance to this new day, a great sigh of disappointment escaped from him. He hated last night and he wished it had never arrived for he found that the first slight bit of snow had at last fallen. And today was no better. The sky was grey, cloudy, and sad, and the wind was cold. Everything was dead and it almost seemed that the sun had died in the heavens. What a day – a day not worth anything too much, at least not for happiness. Tom dragged himself back to his bed but strangely did not sleep. It perplexed him to hear his sisters talking so excitedly in their bedroom across the hall so early in the morning. Tom lay quietly for some time listening to the conversation. Suddenly he realized what it was all about. Today was Thanksgiving Day and all the relatives were coming for dinner. What a relief for him because there would be no school and his school work was not finished. But now he remembered he had church this morning. To him it seemed as if he could never win. He remembered from last week’s bulletin that the sermon was going to be entitled “Thankfulness to God.” And why a sermon on this again? Every year on the same day he heard the same thing. Who is not thankful for a home, a place of shelter, warmth, food and love? And am I not thankful for parents, who, since I was a small child, helped me find who I am, he thought? Or what about health and the ability to hear, smell, taste, see, and touch? Oh, he admitted of course, that he often forgot about some of the most significant things that he had. He knew he should be more thankful for such things as friends, God who cares about him, the freedom to raise his voice in singing and to bow his head in prayer, the ability to laugh with his friends, to share with others and have others share with him. Right, as he had learned in Sunday School when he was a small child, “Be ye thankful for all things.” For . . . all . . . things . . . A-l-l … things?? I guess that is right, he thought. Even for last night’s snow and today’s cloudy sky, for school and also for church. Yet, he could not stop here. All things included the world of sickness and sorrow, pain and death, the world of loneliness and the world of war. But perhaps the most important part is to live in the world or true appreciation for all these things.
Tom, sadly and quietly, slowly turned under the warm blankets and buried his head deeply in his pillow as the minutes of this Thanksgiving Day ticked away. He stared out into the dimly lit room while His mind seemed to cry. Tom walked back in time to the day he unexpectedly discovered a verse which struck him strangely but which he forgot as time traveled ahead. He recited it perfectly to himself. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die; we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”
* * * * * * * * *
Lord, help me to be a thankful Christian,
For life and what is given in that life.
For all things of today and all things of tomorrow.
And grant repentance for complaining about yesterday.
*Committee included: G. Bouwkamp, V. Haveman, J. Holstege, L. Ekema, J. Van Overloop, D. Van Ufflen.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 7 November 1971