"DearJesusThankyouforourfoodAmen", prays my 3-year-old while simultaneously digging into his plate. We grin, then sigh and patiently try to tell him to stop and really be thankful instead of praying as a religious exercise. He just grins at us around a mouthful of potatoes.
It's hard for me to get too upset with him. After all, how often do I really stop and thank God for what is on the plate before me? Yes, we stop to "say grace" before every meal. I even quietly drop my head when dining alone. All too often, however, it seems to be just another religious habit instead of heart-felt thanks.
It didn't used to be that way. Back when everyone farmed their own food and many sold food to others as a livelihood, thanksgiving was in order. The family knew all too well Who was responsible for the bounty on its table. They had lived through lean times when their best efforts were rewarded with heavy rains, drought or pests.
The Pilgrims knew it. As they gathered with their Native American friends that first Thanksgiving, they still keenly felt the frigid air of the previous winter with inadequate shelter and the pangs of hunger when there was little sustenance to be had. They were truly thankful for the new friends that taught them how to survive in this new, wild land. I'm sure thanksgiving poured freely from their lips, welling from their hearts, as they celebrated.
Our family will eat a bountiful meal today: turkey that none of us raised or slaughtered but came neatly packaged in the case at the store, pumpkin pies made from cans of pumpkin, and cranberries that none of us harvested.
The further away we get from the creation, it seems the less we think of thanking our Creator. Just one more reason to eat God's food, God's way. Let's not forget to truly thank Him today and every day!