While this is considered cute and childish, isn’t this what we do on Thanksgiving Day?
We hover around the kitchen as great aromas waft in the air, trying to avoid the evil glances from the cooks as they stress to get all of the traditional favorites made to perfection at the exact same time. We barely avoid the slap on the hand as we try to sample a little morsel dangling near the edge of a platter. To kill the time, we flip through the parades on TV- with their floats, balloons, bands, dancers, singers, clowns, and elves dressed in red. We sort through the paper to find out when the first football game will come on and memorize the channel listing. We check which stores are going to be open early on Friday and what the specials are- while calculating if the savings are worth fighting the crowds. We quickly prepare the table with napkins, plates, beverages, and utensils - getting more anxious with each minute that passes, hoping that dinner does not interfere with the kickoff.
Finally, the meal is ready. We grab a plateful and run back to our place at the table. We mumble a quick, “Thank you,” while in just a few minutes, we wolf down the delicacies that took hours to prepare. Then we run to the TV, just in time for the first whistle, leaving the mess behind.
If this is all we have to be thankful for, it is no wonder our country is in distress.
Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of national unrest, proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. After recollecting the great many blessings bestowed on our nation, he wrote this:
“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. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, 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. 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 (Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day, October 3, 1863).
Look at all the components Lincoln specified in his proclamation:
1. To set apart a day.
2. Humble ourselves before God and acknowledge Him.
3. Give Thanks to God.
4. Give Praise to God.
5. Seek forgiveness for personal/national perverseness and disobedience.
6. Think about the widows, orphans, mourners and those who are suffering.
7. Ask God to heal the wounds of our nation.
8. Ask God to restore our nation.
This is more than a mere “thank you” while we have our mouthful of goodies and our mind on other things.
It should be a day as spoken by God, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
Will you share this with your family Thanksgiving Day?
Pastor Jay Merritt