We owe God this day

A national day set aside for remembering is becoming the almost forgotten holiday. But I guess when you’re over 240 years old dementia is bound to set in.

The Christmas season now starts the day after Halloween, but there is a very important holiday in-between calling out for us not to forget it. Don’t think of me as an unwelcome distraction in all your excitement and preparations for Christmas, it’s saying. Or as merely another “food holiday” with a “problematic” history, as some in the media say. Stop and remember, and celebrate me. And give thanks.

Thanksgiving Day approaches and it is no less important a national holiday than Independence Day. We would not have independence but for the grace and provision of God. This is what our founding fathers and most of our presidents have believed and it is why they enjoined the citizens of this great country to properly thank him with a special day set aside specifically for that purpose. Perhaps reviewing their exhortations will jog our collective memory, and spur us to gratefulness.

The US Congress on September 25, 1789 unanimously approved a resolution requesting that President George Washington “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”

So on October 3, 1789 Washington issued a National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation, a day “to be devoted by the people of these United 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.”

Seventy-four years later to the day, President Abraham Lincoln issued a formal proclamation initiating the first annual Thanksgiving Day. In it he said, “I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…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…[it is] announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord…It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

Can we expect to continue to be blessed if our God is no longer the Lord but ourselves? Or money, comfort, and convenience? Or power? What ungrateful, spoiled children we are if we fail to acknowledge the One who gave us life and breath, and a great many wonderful things to enjoy in a country so beautiful, prosperous, and free.

Let’s not forget what Thanksgiving Day is for. The food and family times are great, but God who blesses us with them is greater. And he deserves to be thanked.