A Ugandan Thanksgiving

A Ugandan Thanksgiving


 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

-I Thess. 5:18


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It’s free of commercial crassness and a time for family and sincere gratitude.

Thanksgiving gives us room to take a big breath and simply be thankful.

Thanksgiving became special to me during our years in Uganda. I always considered the fourth Thursday in November a worldwide holiday, but in November 2013, I learned that Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. The rest of the world was unconcerned or ignorant about our holiday.

Even though DeDe and I took time to count our blessings that day, it seemed lonely to celebrate it by ourselves 8000 miles from home.

The next year, 2014, a group of missionaries planned a Thanksgiving meal at a hotel in Entebbe. A fine crowd of Americans from every stripe living near the airport showed up.

A (very expensive) turkey was procured and served with other appetizing dishes. There was no cranberry sauce, and I don’t recall anything resembling cornbread dressing, but it was a special day.

The clinking of silverware and the smell of hot coffee, mixed with the happy banter of American accents from all over America, was heartwarming.

Thanksgiving is always best shared with others,

That day made me extra thankful, which is a good goal for any Thanksgiving.

I try each year to consider the gifts I’ve been given.

It’s a time of gratitude, and that’s a good word. 

Gratitude. It’s one of the “7 Words I try to Live By.” *

Gratitude. What a fine word.  

Gratefulness is defined as the “appreciation of benefits received.”

There’s another fine Thanksgiving word.  Appreciation.


I’m reminded of this quote,

“Lord, you’ve given me so much. I ask for one thing: a heart of gratitude.”


Gratitude is a habit.

It affects how we look at the world.

Our sense of gratitude is a barometer of our spiritual condition.         

As we think about daily gratitude, we’re reminded to thank God in the tough times as well as the pleasant.    

“In everything, give thanks . . .”

* * *

The best way to recognize gratitude is to compare it to its polar opposite: Ingratitude.

I’m convinced, that “A poor memory is the root of the sin of ingratitude.”

We forget the limitless blessings we have from God.

That’s Ingratitude.  In  Numbers 13-14, the Children of Israel lose faith when they forget the promises and providence of God.  They forgot all of the miracles they’d seen in Egypt and, along the way, were washed away in an attitude of unbelief and ingratitude.

They lost their “appreciation of the benefits received.” 

They forgot what God had done for them, leading to the sin of ingratitude.

They were ungrateful, and it was (and is) a sin.


I want to celebrate each day with an attitude of thanksgiving. With the help of God, I want to remove any trace of ingratitude in my heart,

I want to be more thankful.

I admit that I’m not as grateful as I need to be and not as grateful as I want to be.

But I’m working on it.

I want to live with gratitude because the gratitude-filled life is the happiest life.

Happy Thanksgiving 2023

Curt Iles


*My Current “7 Words to Live by:”




LLL/Life Long Learner





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