The spirit of Thanksgiving is to demonstrate gratitude to God for the blessings we enjoy despite what trials or obstacles we face. In 1863, as a brutal and bloody civil war ripped our nation in two, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation, perhaps written by William Seward, that gets to the heart of who we are as a people. Part of that proclamation reads, “The year that is drawing towards 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 even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
The year 2018 is also drawing to a close. Our nation, while not engaged in battlefields, remains divided. The Democrats and Socialists, emboldened by their taking of the House a few weeks ago, entertain talk of resistance, subpoenas and investigations. It is a challenging, difficult time. It would be easy for many to forget the source from which blessings flow. There remains much for which we ought to be thankful. We find blessings in both the political and personal areas of life.
Politically we can be thankful that we live in a country most blessed. We currently have a president and an administration who honor our past and seek the Lord’s favor for our land. At the National Prayer Breakfast in February of 2018, President Trump said, “Our rights are not given to us by man; our rights come from our Creator. No matter what, no Earthly force can take those rights away. That is why the words ‘Praise be to God’ are etched atop the Washington Monument, and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people. So, today, we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American. Across our land, we see the splendor of God’s creation. Throughout our history, we see the story of God’s providence. And in every city and town, we see the Lord’s grace all around us, through a million acts of kindness, courage and generosity.”
Despite the gains of our opponents in the recent midterms, those of us who hold to traditional values and Republican ideas can be thankful. Judicial appointments continue to be confirmed and conservative values are being imprinted upon our nation’s courts. We can be thankful for the vast number of our fellow citizens who can provide a Thanksgiving meal at their own table because they now have a job, a raise or a promotion. We can be thankful to our men and women in the military and an administration who supports them. While we gather around tables loaded with food, they will stand guard at the outpost of freedom. We also owe gratitude to the men and women who nobly served our nation in the past. Our veterans deserve our thanks and support. Finally, we have an administration who values our vets and supports them as they deserve.
On Thanksgiving Day, we should also be thankful for this amazing country in which we live. She has stood as a beacon of hope and a pillar of freedom against all enemies who’ve sought to bring her down. I especially like the words Johnny Cash sings about a “Ragged Old Flag.” The last few lines of that poignant song read:
But she’s in good shape, for the shape she’s in. Cause she’s been through the fire before and I believe she can take a whole lot more.
So, we raise her up every morning And we take her down every night, We don’t let her touch the ground, And we fold her up right. On second thought I do like to brag Cause I’m mighty proud of That Ragged Old Flag.
We are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth. We have freedoms of which others dream. In the world of politics and ideas, we who support conservative, Republican values have much for which to give thanks in 2018.
Thanksgiving is not complete, though, without some personal reflection. As we come to this time, it is appropriate for us to individually thank God for his blessing in our lives. Our families and friends are not the product of coincidence. God has brought wonderful people into our lives; people with whom we can share, love and serve. Christians, too, have freedom. God has given us freedom through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice.
Thankfulness is the product of a blessed and cognizant heart. On Thanksgiving Day 2018 may we, with grateful hearts, give thanks.