Thanksgiving is a compound word made up of two smaller, simpler words – thanks and giving. [Am I smarter than a 5th grader?] So, quite plainly, the holiday of Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks.

The first Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who was trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In 1578, he held a ceremony of thanksgiving, in what is now Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey.

We no longer need a day to celebrate survival but we still need a day to give thanks. But what if we suddenly found ourselves in a situation where we were stranded all alone, with nothing, on the edge of survival. What would we miss the most? The answers to that question should give us a clue as for what we would be thankful.

So, I have been thinking. What if I were suddenly alone with no one and nothing, what would I miss? What would I be most thankful to have? Without doubt the first thing for which I would give thanks would be the basics of life.

Anybody on the edge of survival would give thanks for food and shelter. We should certainly give thanks on Thanksgiving for the abundant food and comfortable homes we enjoy.

A close second would be family. Nothing can replace the simple joy of belonging to and being cared for by people you care about. On this Thanksgiving, let’s remember to give thanks for family and friends, and all the relationships that enrich our lives.

The farther we go with such a list, the harder it is to determine priorities but I think the third thing for which I would give thanks is a job and income. Obviously, a job is necessary to supply the income we need in order to provide the basics of life for our families. But for many of us, jobs do more than supply income, they provide us with a sense of meaning and purpose.

Last, but certainly not least, I would give thanks for being a Christian. Thanksgiving, along with worship and praise, is the language of faith. “We give thanks to You, Lord God, the Almighty, the One who is and who always was, for now You have assumed Your great power and have begun to reign” (Revelation 11:17).