thank who???

It’s here again – that one day of the year set aside for us to pause long enough to give thanks. For many of us, this requires a total shift of focus and attention from what we don’t have (and think we should) to notice all the things that we do have (and don’t necessarily deserve). The transition from entitlement to gratitude can be a tough if not impossible one in today’s culture. We take so much for granted that we haven’t yet mastered the art of gratitude. We are so busy striving for more, more, more, that we never take the time to be truly grateful for all the blessings we already enjoy every day. At least I know I am too often guilty of not truly appreciating all that I have been given. I think the old hymn’s advice to “count your blessings, name them one by one” is an excellent way to begin the journey from entitlement to gratitude.

The words of an old poem come to mind now – “Oh, God, forgive me when I whine; I have two eyes, (feet, ears) the world is mine. . . . With feet to take me where I’d go, with eyes to see the sunset’s glow, with ears to hear what I should know: I’m blessed indeed, the world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.”

These words certainly put things in perspective, don’t they? At least they do for me. But there is another important aspect to this Thanksgiving holiday which is often overlooked nowadays. And that is the all important question, “to whom are we giving thanks?” Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, which established Thanksgiving as a national holiday, answers this question clearly. It states in part, “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”

Judging from Lincoln’s words in this address, people then had the same problem with gratitude that we do today. We too are “prone to forget the Source from which our bounties come” and because we so “constantly enjoy” so many blessings we tend to take them for granted. We too are in danger of being “habitually insensitive” to God’s constant watch care over us. We start to take the credit that belongs to God alone for each and every good thing in our lives. We forget that –

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

Every good thing is a gift from God. Lincoln made this clear in his Thanksgiving proclamation stating, “I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, . . . 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.” Lincoln recognized Almighty God as the source from whom all blessings flow. Indeed,

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” (Psalm 24:1)

Truthfully, one day out of the year isn’t sufficient to change my attitude or my heart. Thanksgiving needs to be the way that I live, not a one day of the year holiday. God’s word tells me to –

“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your (my) vows to the Most High” (Psalm 50:14) and to –

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1) I am told to –

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5)

Even in the middle of the pain and suffering I experience living in this broken world, I still have so much to be thankful for because of God’s goodness in general and to me specifically. Psalm 103:1-6 says it this way,

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

That’s quite a list right there of things to be thankful for, sins forgiven, diseases healed, a life redeemed from the pit and filled with love and compassion, renewed youth, righteousness and justice. These are all gifts that only God can give and my thanks rightly goes to Him alone. Thanksgiving has been from the very beginning, a day to give thanks where it is rightly due, to God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation concludes with these words, which are just as applicable today as they were then during the Civil War. Lincoln asked the people on Thanksgiving Day to –

“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.”

That sounds like something we would all do well to pray to God tomorrow as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day by giving thanks where thanks is due – solely to God who has loved us with an everlasting love. It is God who is our Provider – to Him be all thanks, honor and glory.

“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:13-16)

thankful for each and every one of my Heavenly Father’s good and perfect gifts,

sincerely, Grace Day

2 thoughts on “thank who???

  1. Thankful to God for His watchful care while we live as strangers & pilgrims in this foreign land. Thank you for this reminder to give thanks daily to whom our thanksgiving is due. Happy Thanksgiving, friend.


  2. I like your idea of us thinking our Thanksgiving to God should not be thought of as one day a year..but every day of the year.


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