I spent ten Thanksgivings in a row in the hospital emergency room. It was no accident. I had volunteered to be there. I was the Thursday evening hospital chaplain. Needless to say our family has some interesting Thanksgiving Day stories. Our daughters remember joining me once for the Thanksgiving Buffet in the hospital cafeteria. One of those daughters chose the cheeseburger and fries. We usually got in a family meal at the lunch hour before I headed to the hospital in the late afternoon. I covered a 15-hour shift, usually getting home about 7:30 on Friday morning.
Patients would begin to arrive in greater numbers around four on Thanksgiving afternoon. The staff would jokingly say, “Too much food. Too much family.” It is a very sad experience to find yourself in the emergency room because of a heart attack or stroke after trying to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Over-drinking, car wrecks, hunting accidents and attempted suicides would bring others in through the night. Some of them would die on Thanksgiving Day. It is estimated that nearly 300,000 Americans sit in medical waiting rooms each day. Some are patients, others are family and friends. A hospital is a busy place 24-hours a day, holidays included. It is hard enough to be a patient in the hospital, but on Thanksgiving Day it can seem almost ironic. How do you count your blessings under those circumstances?
I have a suggestion: make every day a day of thanksgiving. Recognize the gift of today and live in gratitude. Rejoice in the Lord always. In all things give thanks. Serve the Lord with gladness. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Love as God has loved you. Bless others and bless yourself.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Say “Thank You.” And let’s experience the love and power of God together.