"Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 106:1 (NLT)
Every year; as we approach mid-November and thoughts (hopefully) have turned to preparation for the day of Thanksgiving, I focus on the blessings I've received from God. But, for the past few years I've noticed the "world" would like to "sweep this holiday under the rug" like so much dust. The "gimme" celebrations of Halloween and Santa Claus take precedence with early stocking of store shelves filled with decorations and food ideas to get everyone in the mood to "buy and celebrate."
When I hear my secular friends say, "I'm thankful for...", I always want to ask, "To whom are you thankful?" Giving thanks, in my mind, always suggests there is a Source of the blessing to whom we should give our thanks. Our "Founding Fathers" knew and understood where their blessings originated. Check out some of what was written by just three of them.
"For as much as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these United States to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please God through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, Independence and Peace: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisted 'in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.
And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion." Samuel Adams, (The First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving given by the Continental Congress in 1777.)
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and--Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United Staes a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country...and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us...." George Washington, October 3, 1789.
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. ... No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They ae the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of he United States and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliveances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil srife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. ..." Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863 (In 1941, the U.S. Congress designated the fourth Thursday in November as the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.)
You have blessed us with every good and perfect gift. It is from you that we have the very breath in our lungs, the beating of our hearts, the ability to think, learn and feel from the minds you have given us. Truly we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139;14) May we daily make time to come to You, recognize Your majesty and Sovereignty and give our humble thanks to You. Your Love and Mercy endure forever. May we live in The Way of Jesus, our Savior, that we may be pleasing unto You and glorify Your Name. Amen.
by Marilyn Allison