Roger Alford

I

 always enjoy the story about the lady who was looking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, hoping to find the perfect one for her family.

She called the stock boy over and asked, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”

“No, ma’am,” he answered. “They’re dead.”

By now, you’ve probably found the perfect turkey for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner. And you’ve probably given some thought to everything you have to be thankful for this year. There’s a wonderful hymn that calls for us to count our blessings and name them one by one.

When we begin to add up the great blessings we have received from the Lord, we realize that he’s mighty good to us. 

One of the things I’m most thankful for is the church I’m a part of. What a great blessing it is to have a place to worship the true and living God, a place to fellowship with some of the greatest people on the planet, a place of peace and hope and love. What a great blessing it is to be counted among God’s children.

Sometimes I wonder if we might take for granted just what it means to be a child of the King.

For me, it was a blessing to be the son of Jason B. Alford, a coalminer from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. 

He provided the things I needed as I grew up. And he provided some things I didn’t really need, but things he knew I’d like.

I was reminded of that in a very real way long after he’d gone to heaven. I was looking around inside the Kentucky Coal Museum when I came across a display of lunchboxes – or lunch buckets, as we called them – used by miners over the years. 

There were big ones, little ones, medium ones, round ones, square ones and rectangular ones. I remember seeing one just like the one my father used and it brought back good memories of him returning home, tired from a long shift underground.

I would meet him at his truck and help him carry his stuff inside, especially his lunchbox. I did that because I wanted to see if he had left anything in there. Amazingly, I always found a Moon Pie or a Honey Bun. 

Hungry from the hard labor in those cramped, dark mines, he would eat his sandwich, his chips, his banana. But he never ate that Moon Pie or Honey Bun. Why? Because he knew a little boy would be waiting at home, eager to see what good thing waited in that lunchbox. 

As a child, I had always thought that my father had gotten full and just didn’t have room for his dessert. But when I grew up, I realized I could have eaten everything in that lunchbox and more and still been hungry. That was certainly true for my father, too. Yet, he saved the best, the sweetest thing he had for me.

You know, that’s the way it is with our heavenly Father. He wants us to have the best, the sweetest thing. And what’s better or sweeter than Jesus.

As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll take a moment to thank your Heavenly Father for giving his only begotten son to die on the cross so that we might live.

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