A time to say thanks
By Clif Knight
Thanksgiving, a holiday we can claim as our own, was first observed the fourth Thursday of November 1621. It was inaugurated by a small band of American Pilgrims and Native Americans who turned to God with thanks for His protection and for getting them through the first winter and blessing them with their first bountiful harvest.
The depth of its meaning would be incomplete without pausing first and giving thanks to God for the blessings we share as American citizens.
First Baptist pastor Dr. Clayton Speed referenced Psalm 100, New King James Version, of the Bible for his points of emphasis in a Sunday sermon, “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.”
This psalm says: “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; He is the one who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
I’m proud to be a part of a close-knit Christian family that supports each other and builds special memories through family vacations, holiday celebrations and frequent pop-in visits.
I’m thankful I live in a country that was founded on democratic principles and remains a beacon of freedom despite countless attempts to undermine its strength. The men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in America’s defense are my heroes.
The clean air we breathe and the safe water we drink are just as important to our well-being as a bountiful supply of healthful food and a wide array of prescription medicines.
We are privileged to live in a small town that has a top-notch education system, well-managed utility services, safe environment, easy access to modern medical services and well-stocked grocery stores.
I’m thankful I live in a community that places a strong emphasis on quality education. Student test scores typically rank above the national average and among the top 10 education systems in the state.
The protection and safety of citizens are prioritized by adequately staffed and equipped police and fire and rescue departments. Other amenities include a multipurpose civic center, water park and accessible playground.
Our community is also blessed to have active churches of most denominations. Thousands of congregants faithfully practice their faiths at these houses of worship each week and offer a variety of outreach programs to the community.
We’re also thankful to live in a community that lives out its slogan: “The City of Southern Hospitality.” The welcoming attitude of Hartselle folks was well spoken by these words on a Highway 31 sign some years ago: “If you lived in Hartselle, you’d be home now.”
These are just a few of the reasons I’m thankful to be a Hartsellian. I’m sure you can add others. Whatever they are, happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.