The recent large lotteries resulted in news stories of people standing in long lines seeking to buy tickets. In some of these news stories, people told of their dreams of what they would do with the lottery winnings. Such stories included buying houses for family members and the often said “quitting work.” In contrast to that we have seen stories of people losing their homes and possessions due to hurricanes, refugees seeking to escape poverty and conflict, and every day the media reports stories of hardship and tragedy that befall people in life.

It is easy to understand the dreams of people to not only escape poverty and the drudgery of some jobs, but to have a little more or to be able to provide a little better for those we love. I once read, “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 someplace, 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.”

As the season of Thanksgiving comes upon us, while the vast majority of us will have not won money in a lottery, many of us have lots of good reasons to be thankful, aside from economic considerations. The essence of Thanksgiving is to be thankful for that which we do have, especially the things in life that money cannot buy.

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