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Spiritual Life

Count your blessings as Thanksgiving Day approaches

In one of Tom Clancy’s novels – I forget exactly which one – there’s a moment when someone who doesn’t believe in God realizes that atheism has taken away a higher being to be grateful to.

That thought has long been bouncing around my brain – people who do not believe in a higher power have no one to thank for their many blessings. And believe me, if you are reading the Town Crier, you are likely to be more blessed than most people on this planet.

We have clean water to drink, whenever and wherever we want; our lights come on when we flick the switch; we experience no brownouts or blackouts on a regular basis; and we don’t live in a war zone. We are very blessed.

The tendency we have as humans is to admit that, yes, we are blessed, but not as blessed as ... fill in the blank. Then, because we are comparing ourselves to the wealthiest in the world, we come up a little short and feel that complaining is appropriate. But really, we should be comparing ourselves to the people in our society with the least: the least power, the least resources, the least education. Then, comparatively, we are incredibly blessed.

Don’t miss that thought this year around your Thanksgiving table. We here are incredibly blessed. I’m sure you and I have even more to be thankful for than clean water and electricity.

So this Thanksgiving, I would urge you to thank someone other than yourself for your blessings. Thank your family, who supported and loved you all these years. Thank your co-workers for their contributions to your work and success. Thank your neighbors for being good neighbors. Thank your spouse for loving you in good times and in hard times. And do take some time to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you. Be grateful. It is a nice quality.

Finally, be thankful in a real way. In Genesis, God tells Abraham that He is blessing him in order to be a blessing to others. A great way to be grateful is to use your blessings to help others. Collect some food to donate to those in need. Contribute to a homeless shelter. Buy a toy for a child whose family is struggling so that Christmas can be a little better. Give thanks, and bless others.

The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.

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