For many, Thanksgiving Day is a favorite holiday. It's hard to beat a holiday that includes family, friends, great food, and football. It is appropriate and good that on this day we turn our family's focus to give thanks to God for all of His blessings to us.
Yet for most of us, a passing thought of thanks, reading a poem, article, or story about thankfulness, and a prayer before dinner is about the extent of that focus. It is interesting however, that in generations past, our national day of thanksgiving also included a focus on confession of sin, and on praying that we might be the kind of people, families, and nation God wants us to be.
"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.
So, this Thanksgiving season, while you are enjoying the blessing of home, family, friends, and food, even as we give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, let's also remember that giving thanks to God is only part of our spiritual responsibility. Let's pass along a legacy to our kids where they understand that in addition to thankfulness, we are also called to confession of sin and to ask God to help our families (and as a nation) to walk in obedience Him; to pursue all that is right and good, in step with His desire for our lives.