Here and now is a great time to remind ourselves why the fourth Thursday in November is a good celebration to enjoy, especially since few of us have exhausted ourselves bringing in a harvest of our crops in the past few weeks. (Wiki facts on T-day) And less than half of us credit what we enjoy to God.
Thanksgiving has deep religious roots and was a day the pilgrims and other adventuresome souls set aside to bless God and enjoy their harvest of all their labors, and the help of their neighbors. The habit endured. Our first President, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God."
By 1863, though, Abraham Lincoln saw an added relevance of this event, and proclaimed a celebration to restore a sense of unity of Americans, though torn asunder by a grave civil war. And in 1941, when we were in another fight for our national life, President Roosevelt (FDR), hoping for continued economic recovery, proclaimed the celebration to be always on the fourth Thursday of November.
This year, Americans will be mixing what has been a celebration of our unique history, God’s providence and our own productivity with our drive to get good stuff at cheap prices. Black Friday is the manifestation of fear that we may never be able to acquire our hearts’ desires at a better price – as well as faith on the part of merchants that they can finish their year in the black. Now the genius of American commercial ingenuity is urging us to get out right after a T-day feast, and buy, buy, buy.
This is no segway into a rant, gentle readers. No – look for any snarky comments about how anyone chooses to enjoy Thanksgiving. That is the blessing of being an American!
(But, before some of us nod off, party on or head out, remember to thank the cook(s); also, let’s remember dishes don’t get done by themselves!)
Whatever we do today, my humble hope is that you and I remember how good we have it, and how too many Americans are hurting. Mr. Obama said today:
"As Americans, we are a bold, generous, big-hearted people," the president continued. "When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work - not for the recognition or the reward, but because it's the right thing to do. Because there but for the grace of God go I. And because here in America, we rise or fall together, as one nation and one people." (Source) (Emphasis added)
I hope we will remember and thank the God who is; that we will reflect upon our heritage – the good and the bad, our history and government – its positives and negatives -- and the armed forces who give us the right to choose how we spend this day.
Today is a good time to be thankful that we have opportunities to add good things to the lives of others!
God, please expand our vision to see You, as the Enabler of our prosperity and generosity – and the Sustainer in times of trial and troubles. May we be wary lest we fall into the trap of pleasing ourselves first.
Preoccupied with ourselves, we have lost the grace of being thankful. It is sad to live in a world where there is no one to thank because we have ourselves become the cause and source of all good things. —John Hannah ( Self-Centeredness Reminders)
Thank you God for all You have done and are doing for us – by your grace and through your Son Christ the Lord. Forgive us please our transgressions for His sake. And give us a healthy fear of and faith in You.