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Dear Sir Knights and Friends in Christ:

          Have you ever given an expensive or elaborate wedding gift and not receive a thank you note?  Maybe you have given a nephew or niece a gift of money for a birthday or graduation and not received any token of acknowledgement or appreciation?  Or how about giving a son or daughter the gift of using the car only to have them abuse the privilege with a wreck or speeding ticket.  Have you tried to feed a stray dog only to have it snap at you?  A common occurrence of ingratitude is putting in many hours of work and effort on a project for your profession only to have your boss or co-worker receive all of the credit with no recognition for you.

          During these times, we tend to ask ourselves, why do we bother with these ingrates.  Several years ago I sent an expensive wedding gift to a friend’s daughter, since I could not attend the wedding, I asked my friend to deliver it.  After several months had lapsed without a thank you note or telephone call, I grew curious if the couple even liked the gift or even received it.  I stopped my friend and made the inquiry.  "Oh yes", he replied, "They loved it!"  Even though I gave the gift of my own free will, I felt the couple had taken advantage of my generosity.

          I also spent numerous hours taping and editing a wedding video for another good friend’s wedding.  Since he was an student of mine, I thought it would make a unique gift.  I presented it, wrapped with a wedding card, after the wedding
( approximately a $700 dollar value).  I didn’t receive a thank you note or even a telephone call.  Did they hate it?  Didn’t they realize all of the hours that I spent in editing the raw footage?  Didn’t they appreciate it?   Maybe I should have sent them a bill.  You would think by now I would take the hint about wedding gifts (why bother) but unfortunately, generosity is my dominate trait.

          Now what does this have to do with Thanksgiving?  My brother Sir Knights and friends, all that we have in this world comes from God!  Everything we enjoy, or not enjoy, is His gift to us.   For those who attend Hanselmann’s Inspection each year know that I always allude to this fact in my meal prayer.  God gives us many blessings and talents along with the power of rational thought.

          Rush Limbaugh, a popular radio show personality, does have it correct when he states that he has "Talent on loan from God".  Many people misconstrue this to be bragging about his ability, but he offers it in the manner in which it should be taken.  All of our talents and abilities are gifts from God to be used while we enjoy life upon this earth.

          Giving thanks to God is so important that there are 27 verses of the bible which contain the word thanksgiving and 71 verses which contain the word thanks.  Many of the psalms direct us to thanksgiving.   Psalm 69:vrs 30 is one of many  "I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify him with Thanksgiving". And don’t forget the ever popular Old One Hundred which states: "Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful unto Him and bless His name."

          Even our blessed Savior demonstrated thanksgiving by offering thanks to God for the seven loaves of bread before feeding the multitudes (Mark 8:vrs 5 and John 6: vrs11) and again during the Last Supper, Christ gave thanks for the bread and wine (Mark 14:23 and Luke 27:19) Jesus thought giving thanks was so important that He set this example the night before He was crucified.  Acts 27:35 states that  "He took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all"

        No one likes an ingrate. And I’m sure that God does not either. Now if everything we have comes from God, then it follows that we owe Him one be Thank You. Our forefathers thought so and established a day of Thanksgiving.  In 1623, Governor Bradford decreed that a three day feast be held which was dedicated to giving thanks to God.  In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26th a day of national thanksgiving.   Then because everyone celebrated on different days throughout the nation, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be the official Day of Thanksgiving.   Seeing the importance of this holiday, Canada followed the United States Example and set their Thanksgiving Day the second Monday in October.

          But is saying thank you just a lip service?  A far wiser man than I once said, "What we have is God’s gift to us, but what we do with these is our gift to God." Being truly grateful is more than a prayer of thanksgiving.  It is using our gifts and talents for His service.  Paul states in his epistle to the Thessalonians (1 Ths 5:18), "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you".  This passage exhorts us to be always thankful to God for our blessings, not just on a certain day. Continual thanksgiving reminds us that we are indeed children of God and we are in His care.

No one likes an ingrate. Neither does God.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Sam Witherup PC

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