Ever since the English settlers and the Native Americans of Plymouth Colony celebrated their meal together at what many call the First Thanksgiving, November has been a time to celebrate the things for which we are most thankful.  For them it was thankfulness for a good harvest, for good relationships, for freedom to worship as they believed.  For us, it can be the same:  thankfulness for a steady job, for a loving family, for a God who loves us even when we don’t love ourselves.  But have you stopped lately to be thankful for your health?

Think about all the minute parts of your body that have to work together for you to function properly.  We men seem to be knocked down by the common cold, while ladies seem to keep going in more difficult circumstances.  However, our bodies work much the same.  We all have those little cells that have to be just so to keep us on the move.  All these cells aren’t the same, either.  Each individual organ, bone, muscle, nerve, or even the skin has its own particular “brand” of cells that work together to complete its given function.  You certainly (I hope) don’t use your digestive system cells to think or use your skin cells to smell.  Our bodies are “wondrously made” in such a way that we ought to be thankful for the strength to keep working, keep loving, keep helping others.

This “attitude of gratitude” for our bodies is best shown in taking care of our health.  I hope you or a loved one are not dealing with a difficult issue such as cancer or heart disease, but if you are, be thankful for the loved ones in your life who minister to your needs and for the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who are helping you to live better.  A positive attitude along with laughter is sometimes the best medicine.  Another way to show your appreciation for your body is to take daily steps to live a healthy lifestyle.  Don’t eat more than you should.  Don’t drink too much alcohol.  If you smoke, stop today.  Ask for help for depression or excess stress in your life.  Get off the couch and move around a bit more or start a regular exercise program (going shopping on Black Friday doesn’t count).  Have regular checkups with your physician and take any medicines he or she prescribes the way you should.  And, of course, see your dentist on an ongoing basis.  We recommend at least twice a year for cleanings and quick returns for any work you need done for cavities or broken teeth.  Taking care of your oral health affects your entire body.  After all, where do you load in all that yummy Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce?

This November, be a pilgrim pioneer in your own right and be thankful for your health.  All those little cells (especially the gray ones) will thank you in return.

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Jarrod Brown