Posted tagged ‘thanks’

Looking Back and Giving Thanks

January 7, 2016

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

Recently it was reported that at the end of the 19th century there was one car on the road for every 18,000 people in the United States. Contrastingly, today there are more than 250 million cars and trucks in the United States, or almost one per person.

That being true, most drivers have for their convenience a vision device that assists in safe driving. Having been on the highways quite a bit recently, I am not convinced that all drivers actually utilize this device, but that is another topic for another time.

Along with the large picture window that provides a panoramic-type view of what is ahead of the vehicle, there is a small “magical looking glass” that enables one to actually see what is behind the vehicle. It is called a “rear view mirror,” introduced to automobiles in 1908, then mounted on the dashboard.

Throughout my childhood years I believed those little mirrors were to assist parents in keeping an eye on their children in the backseat of the vehicle! At what age did you realize that parents do not actually have eyes in the backs of their heads? That crazy mirror got me into trouble more times than I care to remember!

Apparently, automobile makers continue to believe that seeing what is behind a vehicle is important. They also realize that the past is not the main focus. Hence, the picture window in the front is much larger than the small rear-looking apparatus. It is small enough that it does not obstruct the view of what is ahead, yet large enough to see at a glance what is behind.

We have ushered in a new year once again to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne,” for old time’s sake. It is an opportunity to glance in to life’s rear view mirror and reflect on the past as we project for the future. That which is left behind means something; in fact, the past is what brought us to the present. We must not let our memory obstruct our view of the present and future, but it can help us live better in the present and future if we allow it to do so.

Some drivers seem oblivious to what is behind them; and for some people, the beginning of a new year is simply another day on the calendar. I choose, however, to use this time as a check up: to examine my life and values, my blessings and shortfalls, my strengths and needs for improvement.

Living things are in constant development, and thus require continual observation in order to make necessary adjustments as conditions change. I will not set new goals too lofty to attain, or make resolutions that demand more than I can give. Whatever circumstances I face, however, I will determine to be the best that I can be for Christ, for my family, my church, and my community.

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A Day of Thanks and Praise

October 18, 2013

By Steven J. Callis

I recently saw a cartoon that portrayed a turkey grinning at the pumpkin which had been carved into a jack-o-lantern.  With a somewhat painful look on his face, the pumpkin declared to the turkey, “Laugh all you want, but you’re next!”

Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but many people are already making plans for this national holiday, working out the details of what has become a tradition of family, friends, turkey dinner, parades, and football.  Family gatherings require advanced planning as some family members will travel for a few hours or more to be in attendance.  The menu must be determined, and the preparation of its entrée’s must be delegated to the various attending guests.

Some families change the gathering location from year to year, while others may have one home that most easily accommodates the crowd, or a home that is more geographically centered than the others.  There seems to be some kind of unspoken rule that the host has the privilege of preparing the turkey (and keeping the leftovers!).

Another fun part of Thanksgiving for some people is the close examination of store ads in the newspaper,  anticipating “black Friday.”  Some of the excitement about black Friday is getting up before the chickens in order to be at the store when they open their doors.  Many stores have robbed people of that excitement by opening Thursday at midnight or soon after.

Well, who should we “thank” for all of this tradition and celebration?  President Abraham Lincoln is credited with declaring the last Thursday of November as a national holiday.  History records that Secretary of State William Seward wrote the actual proclamation document.

It is further noted that magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale wrote a letter to the president requesting such a proclamation, stating that she had been advocating for 15 years for all of the States to recognize a common national thanksgiving date. Then, of course, there are the first settlers, the Pilgrims, who celebrated with a thanksgiving feast after their first harvest in 1621.  Many people had a hand in this holiday tradition!

Thanksgiving is not an official Christian holiday, but as you make your plans for this Thanksgiving, consider the words of President Lincoln, proclaiming “a national day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  Let us give thanks with a grateful heart to the One from whom our blessings flow.