Thanksgiving Gratitude, 2016

By Warren Coehelen-keller

Helen Keller’s Story

Helen Keller is a great example of a person who conquered physical handicaps.  Before she was two years old, Helen suffered a brain fever causing lost sight and hearing.  Because of this she was unable to speak.  Helen was shut off from the world.

For next five years she was a wild, unruly, kicking and scratching little girl.  Then her father sought help at Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston.  Shortly before her seventh birthday, a teacher named Anne Sullivan arrived to help.  Mrs. Sullivan made contact with Helen through the sense of touch.  In time Helen learned to read and write.  At ten she learned to speak.  Ms. Keller graduated from Radcliffe College with honors.

Throughout her long life, Helen Keller became a symbol of courage to millions of blind people.  She once wrote, “I’ve always thought it would be a blessing if each person could be blind and deaf for a few days, during his early adult life.  Darkness would make him appreciate sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.”

The Problem of Ingratitude

I don’t think Helen meant any malice when she penned these words.  Helen Keller saw a disease more dreaded than blindness.  She could see the sickness of ingratitude; a spiritual illness that poisons the human spirit.

Ingratitude is the inability to give thanks; an unwillingness to appreciate life’s blessings.  Those with the disease complain a lot and more is never enough.  Acts of kindness, like receiving a birthday card or getting a compliment are unappreciated.  Ingratitude blinds and deafens the human soul to the manifold gifts God brings each day.

How Did Job Survive the Pain?

A long time ago, a man suffered great loss.  First, his property was destroyed or stolen.  Then all his children were killed.  In time, his health broke.  Even his wife told him to curse God and die.  Job suffered like no human being.  But in midst of his pain Job thanked God.

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (Job 5:8-11 ESV).

Job saw the hand of God throughout all creation and in his life.  Now that is gratitude.

Final Thought

Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President of the United States, said these words in his thanksgiving proclamation to our divided nation.  “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven…God should be solemnly and reverently and gratefully acknowledged by all Americans.

Take time this Thanksgiving season to count your blessings one by one.  Express appreciation for your family, friends and work colleagues.  In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Th 5:18 ESV)

Happy Thanksgiving,

Village Schools of the Bible

Thanksgiving Gratitude, 2016

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