Just Who Are We Thanking on Thanksgiving Day?
That’s a good question. In a world where secularism seems to triumph, even the mention of God in public places is often met with suspicion if not outright animosity. It has not always been this way. In 1789 George Washington declared the first “day of thanksgiving” and did not hesitate to recognize that God was in charge of our future and encouraged our young nation “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”. As the war with England had just been won, Washington even thanked God for His help and for the “manifest mercies and the favorable interposition’s of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war”
The truth is that in times of war and hardship we as individuals and as a nation need to seek God’s blessings even more. In 1863 our country was being torn apart by Civil war, yet President Lincoln proclaimed that almighty God was nonetheless blessing the USA, despite the burdens of that bloody and tragic conflict:
“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
Can you imagine any politician today being so religious in public? The ACLU would be filing lawsuits and going on Larry King demanding “separation of church and state” ! But keep in mind, that phrase is NOT in our Constitution. It’s a made up principle from the Supreme Court. The actual words from the Constitution are: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” To me this phrase sounds more like a guarantee of religious freedom rather than a restriction on religious practice.
In fact if our Government ever declared that there is no God, then the basis for all of our freedoms and civil rights would be lost. That’s right. The very foundation of American and western democracy is the principle that our creator (God not Darwin) gave every person rights that no government can legitimately take away. As stated in our Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
So as you are watching the football game or parade this Thanksgiving remember just who it is we are celebrating. You might even take a moment before carving that bird to remind yourself and your family that it was faith in God that allowed our founding fathers to establish this great nation. We should all be grateful and give thanks and praise to Him. We should try this and every Thanksgiving to live up to the responsibilities that come with our God granted liberty.
"For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone." (1 Peter 2:15)