Unfortunately, many Americans today have lost that foundation for true, heartfelt thanks at Thanksgiving.
Once again, it’s another Thanksgiving – a uniquely American holiday, when we pause to reflect and give thanks.
If we are to properly “give thanks” on this day, there must be a being to whom we express gratitude for our blessings, a person who receives our gratitude.
As our first founders declared, the person who deserves this award is the Almighty God who shows grace and mercy to our land and fellow citizens.
This truth was on full display when John Hanson, president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation after the American Revolution, issued the first proclamation in 1782 declaring Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November.
Hanson’s statement reads:
“It is the indispensable duty of all peoples not only to pray to Almighty God, the giver of all good things, for his gracious help in times of need, but also to solemnly and openly praise Him. for them in general by His goodness, and especially by the great and signs of His Providence; therefore, the United States in Congress, in the course of the important conflict in which they have long been engaged, have collected many instances of Divine favor to these States, considering the present happy and promising state of public affairs. war events during the year are already coming to an end; especially the harmony of public Councils necessary to the success of the public cause, the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto existed between them and their allies, notwithstanding the skilful and indefatigable efforts of the common enemy to disunite them, the success of the arms of the United States and their allies, and the friendship and commerce of these States, a great and the recognition of their Independence by another European state, which should continue to prevail; And do hereby generally advise the inhabitants of these States to interpose their authority from the several States, to order and order that THURSDAY, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF NOVEMBER, be observed as a DAY OF THANKSGIVING TO GOD. All his mercies; and they further exhort all classes to express their gratitude to God for his goodness by cheerful obedience to his laws, and by preaching to each in his office and influence the practice of true and undefiled religion. the basis of public welfare and national happiness”.
George Washington would later declare Thanksgiving as the first President of the United States in 1789.
What we see in Hanson’s words is the realization that you can’t be truly grateful for something you feel you’re entitled to, or have no idea that one day it might be gone.
True gratitude is the result of enduring losses, overcoming hardships, and realizing that today’s blessings are ultimately not yours in a fallen world, but the merciful hand of God Almighty. To live knowing full well his work.
America’s founders were keenly aware of these truths. They lived and breathed it. They fought and died for them.
Unfortunately, many Americans today have lost this foundation for true, heartfelt gratitude to the Almighty because thankfulness looks beyond the self, contrary to the narrative promoted by many leaders in academia and politics in our modern culture. .
However, in order to truly live the feeling of gratitude in our hearts, we must accept that someone other than ourselves played a role in getting us out of the mud and mire, gave us the opportunity to count our blessings, and placed our hope and faith in a being, a being above all. Working in every step, every moment of our life, even in the darkest days.
It is in this realization that we see the Author of our faith written into our souls, enabling us to truly give thanks to God, our Lord and Savior in this life.
Yes, there is always something to complain about. Likewise, there is always something to be thankful for. It’s your choice.
May your choice today be one that gives thanks to God, as our founders did 240 years ago, and may your day be filled with His blessings as you spend time with family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mississippi!