By: Mark Trammell, Esq.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time for family to gather around the dinner table, reflect on what we are personally thankful for, take a nap because we ate too much, map out a plan for Black Friday, and to watch football. Unfortunately, as a nation, we have largely lost the purpose behind Thanksgiving. True, it is a time for families to gather and give thanks on an individual level, but it is equally important that we give thanks to the Almighty God for His blessings on our nation.
On November 1, 1777, the Continental Congress gave the first Thanksgiving Day proclamation, declaring a national day of “prayer and praise” to God.
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole…
Published in the Columbian Centinel, on January 1, 1795, George Washington, expressing his deep gratitude to the Almighty God for all the “blessings” God conferred upon this nation, called for a national day of “public thanksgiving and prayer.”
In such a state of things it is, in an especial manner, our duty as people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience. Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation.
Issued on October 25, 1887, President Grover Cleveland also called for the nation to pray; expressing gratitude to God and offering penitence for our sins as a nation.
I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday, the twenty-fourth day of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by all the people of the land. On the day let all secular work and employment be suspended; and let our people assemble in their accustomed places of worship and with prayer and songs of praise, give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that He has done for us while we implore the forgiveness of our sins and a continuance of His mercy.
Samuel Adams, Governor of Massachusetts, on October 6, 1796, called for “earnest supplication to God,” and urged our nation to bow to God.
I have, therefore, thought fit, with the advice and consent of the Council, to appoint Thursday, the 15th day of December next, to be observed as a day of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE, to our Divine BENEFACTOR, thro[ugh]out this Commonwealth – Calling upon Ministers of the Gospel, with their respective Congregations, and the whole body of the people, religiously to observe said day by celebrating the praises of that all gracious Being of whose bounties we have experienced so large a share… And, together with our thanksgiving, earnest supplication to God is hereby recommended, for the forgiveness of our sins which have rendered us unworthy of the least of His mercies; and that by the sanctifying influence of His Spirit, our hearts and manners may be corrected, and we become a reformed and happy people…And, finally, that in the course of God’s Holy Providence, the great family of mankind may bow to the Scepter of the Prince of Peace, so that mutual friendship and harmony may universally prevail.
The point is simple; God has immeasurably blessed the United States of America. If we want America to return to prosperity, it will not be absent the Grace of God. It was His Grace that gave our nation life and it will be His continued Grace that will sustain us. Our forefathers understood that the source of our blessings, as a nation, has been exclusively God. Truthfully, I think these folks had it right. For us to be truly thankful, it is imperative to acknowledge the object of our gratitude – Almighty God.
The Continental Congress and Governor Samuel Adams called for a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise.” Both President Washington and President Cleveland called for a day of “Thanksgiving and Prayer.” So, as you sit around the table on Thanksgiving Day, take time to enjoy the fellowship of family and friends, eat too much, and maybe even map out your Black Friday plans. But most importantly, let us remember the fount of our blessings.
On behalf of our entire team here at Liberty Counsel Action, Happy Thanksgiving!
*These Thanksgiving proclamations and more can be found at http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?cat=TP