In classical antiquity, the cornucopia, also called the horn of plenty, was a symbol of abundance and nourishment. Originally it was a curved, hollow goat’s horn (or horn-shaped receptacle) overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts. We see them everywhere during the Thanksgiving season. They serve as a reminder of the stories of the first Thanksgiving – stories of survival and stories of God’s provision for those who survived those early years after landing on this continent.
Traditional Thanksgiving in America brings to mind images of golden turkeys in the center of a table surrounded by a host of trimmings and lots of pies. It is a feast! Not every family has that traditional American Thanksgiving bounty or tradition.
Can we be thankful when the bounty is not so plentiful?
I just finished reading a book that told stories of believers in the Middle East. It described the danger that many of them face every day because of their faith. Many are driven from their homes, some are beaten, and still others are martyred for their faith. Many live with the constant awareness that each day could be their last day on earth. Saying “good-bye” before going to work could mean you will not see your family again.
In addition to the dangers, many live in tent cities with little food or clean water and very few possessions. Some live in buildings that have been bombed and left in shambles.
In spite of the conditions and the dangers, these believers live daily with a desire to tell others about Jesus. They do so out of gratitude for all He has done for them. This reminder of the plight of believers in the Middle East and their gratitude brought a check to my own spirit.
Would I still have gratitude in my heart if my house was blown away or if I was beaten for my faith? Would my heart be as full of praise if I lived daily wondering if it would be my last day?
Most of us have been abundantly blessed. Unfortunately we measure blessing in terms of health and wealth. We compare ourselves with others and assume that the person with the million dollar house has been more favorably blessed than the one in the fifty thousand dollar house, or the one with seemingly perfect health has been more favorably blessed than the one who is battling cancer.
I am reminded of the apostles in Acts 5 who rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ.
I am reminded that I am abundantly blessed – not because of the size of my house or the health I have enjoyed. I am abundantly blessed because I have experienced God’s grace, mercy and overwhelming love. I rejoice in the privilege of serving Him.
I give thanks today, not so much for the turkey that will be on our table but for the way God is revealing Himself to people around the world. I give thanks that I have brothers and sisters who are faithfully advancing the Kingdom of God in spite of the dangers. I am thankful for a growing prayer movement across this country. I am thankful for the hope we have because of Jesus.