By ROY W. HARRIS
A wise man will make sure he doesn’t forget two very important dates; his wife’s birthday and his anniversary.
Anniversaries are celebrations commemorating the annually recurring date of a past event, of historical, national or personal importance (according to The Free Dictionary by Farlex). Wow, that’s quite a mouthful, but we all have anniversaries that are important to us. In this issue of Wilson Living we are celebrating the anniversary of the successful launch of the magazine some three years ago. Congratulations Angel and Becky and to all those who’ve worked hard to produce a top shelf magazine that is a credit to Wilson County and an asset to Middle Tennessee.
In reality, we celebrate a variety of anniversaries. A lady reminded me this past Sunday that she and her husband were celebrating the first anniversary of their baptisms and that I was the minister who performed the baptisms one year ago. This was an important personal occasion for them. Birthdays are also anniversaries celebrating our births and the births of those we love and cherish.
This time of the year also reminds us of a couple of events that occur annually. We celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving is truly a unique and special holiday with Christmas following right on its’ heels. Thanksgiving and Christmas are highlighted by family, food and fun all wrapped up in symbols of the holiday season, symphonies of holiday song and somber reflection of the past year’s goodness and blessings.
I recently returned from a visit to the Middle East and was once again reminded of a number of the blessings that we sometimes take for granted. Just like at Christmas time when we are blessed to receive special gifts from those who love us, we Tennesseans have been blessed by our heavenly Father with many national gifts. We are blessed to live in peace. Even though we’ve suffered war and tragedy at times, we live in the safest country in the world. We are blessed with the freedom to worship openly or not to worship at all if we so choose. We are blessed with the freedom to speak our minds without fear of reprisal. We are blessed with one of the highest standards of living in the world.
While in the Middle East I observed a Bedouin boy in the desert on the West Bank of the Jordan River near the Dead Sea herding a flock of sheep and goats. He was crouched down in the hot sun seeking relief in the shade of the only bush I saw in the area. We had just passed the tent camp of his family and friends in our cool airconditioned bus. I was reminded of just how blessed we are. We are blessed with running water. The Bedouins drew theirs from a tanker, which had been trucked in from miles away. One out of three people in the world do not have adequate sanitation facilities, and over one billion do not have safe water to drink. We are blessed with food. We all have our Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites.
One out of six people in the world go to bed hungry every night. We are blessed with warm and dry places to live. The average American home or apartment is considered to be homes of the very wealthy by most of the rest of the world. We are blessed with warm clothes to fend off the winter cold. Water, food, shelter and clothing, the necessities of life – we have them all.
As we celebrate the 390th anniversary of the first Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the approximately 2000th year anniversary of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, maybe it would be wise for us reflect a moment.
The holy scriptures teach us that every good and perfect gift comes from above, given to us by our heavenly Father. Thanksgiving and Christmas should be times for family, food and fun; but may I suggest one more thing? When we gather around the table and Christmas tree, let us take a moment to recount our personal and family blessings, remind the next generation where our blessings came from and resolve to reach out and share those blessings with others. The scriptures also remind us that God blesses those who help others which are truly in need. The Lord said; I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. When He was asked; when did we do these things? He reminded them that every act of kindness to others was an act of kindness to Him.
There are several worthy nonprofit organizations in our community whose business is lending a helping hand to those in need. Why not adopt one this holiday season and share part of the bounty of blessings that God has sent your way? It would be a nice way to celebrate two great anniversaries and pass the precious gift of giving down to a new generation. Congratulations Wilson Living Magazine. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas everyone!