Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. –Psalm 105:1
Thanksgiving Day has long been a favorite holiday of mine. For me, life doesn’t get much better than a holiday that includes great food, friends, family and football. It is appropriate and good that we take focus on this day to give thanks to God for all of His blessings to us — as individuals and as a nation.
For most of us, a thankful thought here and there, reading a poem, article, or story about thankfulness and a prayer before dinner is about the extent of our focus on thanks — which if you’re at all like me, is a significant focus! I find it very interesting, however, that in generations past, a day of thanksgiving also included a focus on confession of sin (both national and personal) and prayers that we might be the kind of people and nation God wants us to be and that God would heal the wounds of war.
“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed…”
– George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789.
“And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
– Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863.
Today, while you are enjoying the blessing of home, food, family and friends, even as we give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, let’s also remember that giving thanks is only part of our spiritual duty. We are also called to confession of sin and to ask God to help us (both individually and as a nation) to walk in obedience to all that is right and good, in step with God’s desire for our lives.
1. Make a list of the top ten things you are thankful for. If people are on your list, contact them today and tell them you are thankful for them!
2. Offer up a prayer today thanking God for His blessings, confessing sin, and asking God for the wisdom and strength to be an obedient follower of Christ.
2 Chronicles 7:14; Nehemiah 1:4-7; Ephesians 4:1