Can Americans Still Give Thanks?
As I sit this Thanksgiving morning with the sun streaming in through the windows of my home, I’ve had a chance to review classic Thanksgiving Proclamations from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Their faith, their commitment to the American experiment, and their perseverance through tremendous challenges are nothing less than inspiring.
But that caused me to raise the question in my mind, can Americans still be thankful? We may find it hard to do so if we focus on national and international global conflicts, such as Brexit, the upheavals in Hong Kong, the impeachment kerfuffle that is constantly in the media, the never ending charges of racism and selfishness seen in statue-iconoclasm that rejects heroes of the past, the constantly proclaimed greed of Wall Street, and ubiquitous partisan politics.
Such things may cause us to despair instead of giving thanks. Instead, we might feel compelled to descend to lamentation for halcyon days long past with a sense of fear and dread for the future. Yes, there are challenges such as fires and blackouts in California, blizzards and climate challenges across the nation, urban heartaches, violence and instability to name but a few. But these problems as great as they are take place on a canvas of extraordinary Providential care and provision for the American people. To put it simply, the heavenly grace shed on the American people is unmatched in the history of humanity. As bad as Americans are often alleged to be as a people, it is literally amazing how many people strive to enter our national borders in anyway they can, both legally and illegally!
If we but lift our eyes to the heavens for a moment, we would realize we have boundless reasons to be thankful at another great American Thanksgiving holiday. God still sends sun and rain, fruitful seasons on both the just and the unjust. He allows us to enjoy the bounty of the harvest in America’s experience of divine providential care and unparalleled blessings. But there’s more, far more.
Has there ever been such a nation as America that can feed its people so very well? Indeed, there has scarcely been a time in American history where so many people have been able to seek and hold gainful employment to care for themselves and their loved ones.
Moreover, even with all the global tensions and turmoil with Russia, China, North Korea and the Middle East, we live in a remarkably peaceful moment in time for most Americans in terms of human conflict. With profound gratitude for American military members and the families that support them, we must realize that most of us go about our daily lives with unparalleled freedom in historical terms because of the sacrifices of those in the past and present, and the wisdom of our founders, framers and faithful government leaders through so many generations.
Perhaps you are tempted to despair this Thanksgiving break, being overwhelmed with partisan politics that make it difficult to enjoy Thanksgiving and its bountiful blessings and leftovers. Maybe although a classic shopper, you have ceased relishing your annual shopping spree on Black Friday and beyond. Has the anticipation and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ in year 2019 that celebrates His incarnation and birth lost its previous sense of joy and excitement for Yuletide celebrations to come?
It’s time to take a moment and reflect on the words of a classic Christian hymn—“Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Could we not as Americans honestly restate this stanza to declare: “Count your blessings. Just name a few. Recount what the Lord has done for you!”
This Thanksgiving I am profoundly grateful for freedom, faith, family, and this our freest, most Blessed nation on the face of the planet. I am thankful too for you, dear friends!
Happy Thanksgiving to Americans, one and all!