Some years ago, someone sent me the following thoughts in an email:
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death ... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful ... you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder ... you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.
If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.
Reading those thoughts prompted two musings.
First, I am truly fortunate. I have food, clothing, shelter, money, health, enjoy a safe life in a free land, am happy, literate, and love one who loves me. These are all truly wonderful aspects of life.
Second, I can take little or no credit for most (all?) of those good things. If I had been born in a different place or time, or my parents had had other values, then my life today would be VERY different. Some of the good things in my life may be blessings, i.e., from God. Alternatively, some of the good things in my life may have resulted from random events. I don't know. Philosophical and theological debates rage intensely over that question.
What I do know is that my life is very good. Thanksgiving is a day to pause, to appreciate life's goodness (and I've never known anyone whose life was entirely devoid of goodness, whether a paralytic or a convict or death row), and to thank God for God's blessings (e.g., God's presence, love, light, and life) by caring for other people and the world.