Traditionally Thanksgiving Day ushered in the holiday season with the excitement of a bountiful meal, time spent with loved ones and the anticipation of the celebration of Christmas and the new year. However, over the past few years the constant pressure of business and the desire to “be the first” or “come out on top” has relegated this important holiday to almost bystander status. Thanksgiving Day has been officially recognized since the presidency of George Washington and despite the efforts of retailers to make this day a shopper’s bonanza it should be a time to reflect and pray.
Washington wrote: “Thursday, the 26th of November proclaimed as a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer, devoted 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’” Washington was a God-fearing man who recognized providence when he saw it. How different his sentiments than many of today’s entitlement class and the shameful politicians who support the idea that such providence is a “right”. It has been said that when we stop feeling thankful and expressing gratitude, we begin to feel entitled and expressing a desire for more.
This begs the question: What are you thankful for? So many things come to mind..family, friends, employment, home, well being. If these things easily come to mind, then a further question: What have you thanked your Heavenly Father for? Not just on this day, that was set aside to publicly give thanks, but when you go into the inner room that Christ spoke of to have fellowship with The Father. Consider this: When you pray, do you simply make your prayers a litany of petitions, or are you grateful for what God has already done for you today? Years ago a wise and inspired person asked this question: When you get up in the morning do say “good God..its morning”, or “Good morning God”? Since hearing that I have tried to remember to say “Good morning God” while conversing with my Heavenly Father.
How about thanking God for your very life, for the breath that you just drew, for the abilities he has given you, for the disabilities that challenge you to reveal his glory, for creating us in his own image as beings that can feel joy, love, laughter, anguish, disappointment, sorrow so that we might have hope in Him. These might be good places to start to get our minds in the right way to develop an attitude of gratitude and to publicly and privately give thanks to God who as Job observed, gives and takes away.
Solomon the teacher wrote in Ecclesiastes: “Remember your creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say “I find no pleasure in them.” Before we equate Thanksgiving Day with just a day off, pigging out, watching football and chasing after bargains for which we will reap the empty pleasure of the world, let us stop the world for one day when we can offer our thanks and praise to the God who gives us everything and only asks our love in return.