Bad times give us chance to appreciate what’s good

By Clyde Davis: CNJ Columnist

In the current economic climate, the concept of gratitude or Thanksgiving might seem shallow and lacking in meaning.

At a cursory glance, we might seem tempted to sink our thanks in the sea of bad news and worse predictions which barrage our eyes, ears, and thoughts.

Look deeper. How many of us could truly think to be grateful for the list of blessings which the original Thanksgiving celebrated, the blessings which gave the Pilgrims pause?

Religious freedom — and, to be honest, freedom from religion for those who choose. The Pilgrims, emerging from several centuries of religious warfare in which they were not always innocent victims, could validly appreciate the worth of a land where they could worship as and how they saw fit.

Our multicultural definition must add the word “whom” they worship, but the freedom is still there. Nobody has, or will in the foreseeable future, have the right to force a religion on us.

They were grateful for the basics of food. We find it hard to envision, in our world where, food is taken for granted and often wasted, a simple realization of food as a blessing. The phrase “ land of plenty” has become a platitude.

Most of us don’t realize that in our country, there are children who go to bed hungry. Yet, many of these children are innocent victims of parents who will not avail themselves of the help available.

Freedom of hospitality. Certainly, one of the things for which the Pilgrims gave thanks was the assistance given by Massasoit and his people when it came to their attention that the newcomers might well starve if somebody didn’t do something.

We may stand in danger of losing this blessing, caught up as we are in our self-absorbed lifestyles. Yet, if we do, it will be because of atrophy, not because it was taken from us.

It remains to be seen, how this current economic crisis will work out in long-term results. It is a guaranteed, though, that the ways in which we feel deprived are currently small, compared to the broad scope of history.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and a college instructor. He can be contacted at: