[Originally published in the Monroe News on December 2, 2022]
I’d like to direct your attention to thankfulness one more time. I know our calendars have moved past Thanksgiving and Black Friday and into that month of Christmas, but this is more of a year-round topic so I’m going to go with it. I was able to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my Dad’s side of the family in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were celebrating my grandmother’s 95th birthday as an entire family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) in addition to the big Thanksgiving celebration.
Gathering together as family was reason alone to be thankful. It is a rare feat to get all of my cousins and I together at the same time as life and vocation have moved us across the country. As we shared several meals and a heated game of “Ticket to Ride” I was reminded of how wonderful it was to have that time together and how thankful I was to be there. During the weekend we all wrote memories in a book to share with my grandmother that the joy of the weekend might always be remembered. My grandmother also invited us grandkids to her house for her to have a chance to impart several heirlooms upon our generation. These were items that would help us remember our grandmother and wonderful times from her life when the day comes that our Lord calls her home.
Even our nation has seen fit to target important things to remember that we might also forever be thankful. We have our nation’s capital of Washington full of memorials and places where we mark history and individuals who were at the center of making it. These memorials remind us of heroic individuals behind us and invite us to be thankful for their sacrifices. Even our holidays like Memorial Day invite us to be thankful by remembering those who have gone before us and who paid the ultimate price. Our nation is full of places and dates which we ought never forget lest we also cease to be thankful.
And we have much to be thankful for. We know this when we remember all that transpired in our history to lead us to this moment. All the things we celebrated this Thanksgiving Day, be it the rich feasts, the enjoyment of sports on television, the ability to travel across the country to see family, and so on, are possible because of what we remember in days past. These freedoms and these privileges that are so precious to us are only possible because of the past and what we remember. What I’m getting at is this: let us never forget.
Let us never forget the terrible price paid in wars past and every fight for freedom. Let us never forget the principles set forth by our forebears in our nation’s fabric to preserve our freedom and our nation. Let us never forget to be thankful for it all lest in our forgetting we risk losing it.
This is not only significant in our thankful remembering of our nation, it is eternally important when it comes to one’s faith. There too a critical price has been paid, an ultimate sacrifice has been made. The price of the sin of mankind was the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This, we must remember. We must remember that sin put Him on the cross. The price of our sin was that great.
Remember. Remember and be thankful for what has been given and sacrificed for you. You are part of a greater story and that story involves the many who have come before you including the One who saved us all.
To God be the glory.
Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org