Echo From the Hills – December 4th, 2013
Snowflakes are drifting down, softly and lazily, on this day before Thanksgiving. The trees are frosted white, with the hemlocks resembling icing on a cake. Warm cinnamon fragrance fills the kitchen, where the pumpkin pies are baking, and the plump turkey is waiting for the day tomorrow.
We are enjoying the cozy warmth of home, but I wonder how many folks are trying to get home? Home for Thanksgiving—some of the sweetest words in the English language. There are many stranded due to the winter storm, and there are those, such as our Armed Forces, who are in far-off lands and can come home only in their dreams. Home is security and love—and we long for it all our lives.
We are so blessed! I want to share a prayer with you that I wrote many years ago. It is from the heart, and I truly mean this.
“Dear Heavenly Father: It is Thanksgiving time again, and the world is paying You lip service. But Father, it is with deep, heartfelt gratitude that I want to try to thank You. So many, many times we come to You in prayer, and all we seem to do is ask. And ask, and ask again. But this time Lord, I just simply want to thank You. Oh, how could we ever express the praise that is due unto You?
“I am so thankful that You “so” loved the world—that is a love without limit; a love we can never comprehend. And yet, it was “us” that you so loved. “Whosoever” included every one of us. Oh, Father, I‘m so glad that it included me.
“We can never thank you enough for Christ, that precious gift to fallen mankind. Thank you that He was willing to leave His throne in glory and take on the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. We magnify you, Father, because with your Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we no longer have to live in sin. What a blessing to be free from the chains of sin!
“I can look back on the journey of my life, and I can see how You have guided and protected me. Thank You for holding me up when I faltered along the way. Thank You for carrying me during the times I couldn’t walk. Your promises are so precious, Lord, and they never fail. You said You would never leave me nor forsake me, and You haven’t.
“As I look around, Father, your blessings surround me. Our home is full of love and contentment, because of You. Truly, children are a heritage of the Lord, and you have given us a goodly heritage. Thank you so much for the newest family members that You have added. Your wisdom many times is a mystery to us, and we marvel at the way the plan of our life unfolds as You see fit. You are so good to us.
“The blessings are manifold—we can’t begin to count them. Thank You for the material blessings You have given to us. We don’t deserve any of them. We live in a land of plenty—the common, everyday things that we take for granted are undreamed luxuries in many other parts of the world. Our tables are full, and may our hearts be full also of gratitude and praise. Father, as we look around us, we realize that all we have is truly a gift from You. Oh, we do thank You.
“You have given us freedom in this land of plenty—freedom to speak out; freedom to go where we wish. Heavenly Father, please help all of us to appreciate these freedoms. Thank you for the liberty to worship You as our conscience dictates without fear of reprisal. Father, we want to offer the sacrifice of praise unto You continually, that is; the fruit of our lips.
“Thank You for this beautiful land—for the hills and valleys. We do realize that this is not our final home; yet You have given us so much to enjoy now. We thank you for the softness of springtime; for the bounty of summer. We appreciate the spectacular beauty of autumn, and the restful change of winter. Thank you most of all for this spiritual land where You have led us—“this land of corn and wine, and all its riches freely mine.” Only the inhabitants of this land can enjoy these blessings.
“Dear God, we want to thank You for so many things—for eyes that can see and ears that can hear. May our eyes behold the truths that You set before us, and may our ears be quick to hear Your faintest call. Thank You for the health we enjoy; that we can move about, walk and run. Father, may our feet be swift to do Your bidding, and our hearts attuned to Your voice. May our tongues be quick to tell others of Your great love. And slow to speak words that may hurt or injure. We are wonderfully and fearfully made, and may we realize, most of all, that we were made to serve you.
“Father, we do want to thank You for this special love You have given us as a family. As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving Day, help us to love one another more. We are grateful for each family member, and for our friends. We don’t want to thank You just on this special day, but every day of the year, may we more and more mindful of You multitude of blessings. We realize the greatest praise that we can give unto You is a life of obedience. May our lives reflect, every day, the love of God that is dwelling in our hearts. Not just in church, among Your people, but before the world in our everyday walk of life, help us to live a holy life.
“Heavenly Father, we thank You again for everything. In Jesus name, Amen.”
(It was so good to see many of my friends and readers at the Arts and Crafts Fair at the Civic Center last Saturday. I wish I could express my love and gratitude to each of you, and also to the ones who were not able to attend. May God’s love enfold you and grant you a blessed Thanksgiving. I am now mailing out books for Christmas giving. The price, including tax and mailing costs, is $15.33 for each book, or all three for $40. My mailing address is Alyce Faye Bragg, 2556 Ovapa Road, Ovapa, WV 25164. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!