Let us pause and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all our blessings, and for our freedom 

America has been celebrating days of Thanksgiving since the Pilgrims first shared a meal with the native Indians in 1621 and offered their thanks to God for the successful harvest.  President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789...

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and - 

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

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; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

This proclamation clearly shows a nation that was founded by citizens who had a great reverence for God.  They offered prayers of thanksgiving for God's providence and blessings to the nation. They developed constitutional laws that would protect its citizens. They fought for the freedom to worship God without government interference. They recognized that we need God's protection over our nation.  

As a nation, many Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  As an individual, I will celebrate yet another Thanksgiving with my family (and this year, instead of hosting, I only have to bake the pumpkin pie!)  But as a Christian, this is but one of 365 days a year that I will pause to give thanks for all my blessings.  

"Brothers and sisters: Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:12-14)  

Dear Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I am filled with gratitude for the love we share, for the laughter, and for the abundant harvest of food on the table. Bless our country, our leaders, and our families. Help us as a nation turn back to You, Lord.  Help us to remember the two greatest commandments, to love You and to love one another. Bless those less fortunate, Lord. May we always, in our gratitude, remember to show our love for You by loving and helping one another.  When we face challenges, help us to always trust in You and to remember that Your providence never fails.  Amen.  

A few years ago after Thanksgiving dinner, we played a game.  Each of us took a turn saying what we were grateful for, based on the letters of the alphabet.  My nephew started with the letter A. "I'm thankful for the Air we breathe," he said.  One by one, we took our turns.  When we got to the letter O, the eight-year-old said, "I'm thankful for Obstacles, because they make you stronger". Wow! I was struck by the wisdom of this young child!  It is so true.  We should give thanks for the obstacles, because we often obtain a blessing that we wouldn't have received otherwise.  So I've learned to praise and thank God in all circumstances.  

I've had the opportunity this past week to reflect on what it means to be thankful in all things.  A friend of mine shared a particularly poignant witness of her life experience and the Divine Providence that literally saved her life.  The determination with which she faced adversity is inspiring. The miracles of God's grace and mercy will touch your heart.  Judy has felt a calling to share her story, and you can read about it here.  

May God bless you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving!

article originally published November, 2016