Monday, November 25, 2002

It's the season of Thanksgiving again and time to reflect on the good things in life that we enjoy. Feasts will be consumed and gridirons will be contested. However we will severely cheapen our thanks if we just stop there.

While being thankful for the standard of living we enjoy, we need to acknowledge that this standard of living is rare in this world. We need to acknowledge that few, if any, of us are worthy and deserve such fine things. They come to us as a gift of circumstance, the circumstance of having been born into a country with a functioning economic system. Our affluence is a gift of that circumstance. On this day while we feast many will die in hunger. Such an unearned gift in my mind comes with attached responsibilities. Those so gifted have the responsibility of making the necessary changes in the world so that every individual can have the same kind of gift.

While being thankful for blessings of health, we need to acknowledge that the level of medical benefits we enjoy is far from universal. Many will die today from diseases that are preventable. Many will become crippled and undergo suffering because they have no access to even minimal health care. We are obligated to use the energy and health that have been given to us to make good health care available to everyone.

While being thankful for our political and social freedoms, we need to acknowledge that many live in fear of their own governments and of their own cultural restrictions. We need to use our freedoms to bring more freedom and justice into the socially dark places of the world.

Let our time of thanksgiving not be an idle exercise of gluttony. Let us accept the gifts given to us with grace and renew our commitment to use them to make a difference. For if we don’t there simply is no point.

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