Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

FromTouchstone Magazine's 'Daily Reflections'

Thanksgiving Day: Although this is a civil holiday, unknown to the history of Christian liturgicl calendars, Thanksgiving Day was originally inspired by Bible-beliving Christians and established with the support of sentiments deeply informed by Christian memory. More than all other people, Christians are under the constant obligation to give thanks.

"To give thanks," let us note, and not "be thankful." Holy Scripture nowhere tells us to "be thankful." It exhorts us, rather, to "give thanks." It is the act that is commanded, not the sentiment. That is to say, we are to give thanks, whether we feel like it or not. The Bible does not tell us, with respect to thanksgiving, to consult our sentiments but our memories.

This latter exercise is called "counting our blessings," and among those blessings, surely, is our ability to count, our capacity for thought and reflection. This faculty is what separates us from all other beings that walk the earth. Even those who fancy that animals can think have never seen an animal "say grace" before it settles down to its meal. Whatever else animals may do, they do not give thanks. And when we give thanks, as we are told to do--always, everywhere, and in all things--let us truly count the many things we have by reason of God's kindness.

Let us start, perhaps, with our very life. We do not deserve even to be. God did not owe us an existence. Let us thank him for each of our limbs, remembering that not all human beings have been so blessed. And if we are missing a limb or two, let us give Him thanks for the limbs we have. And if we have no limbs, let us give Him thanks for our minds that are able to count that loss.

Let us give thanks to Him for our various faculties, both of body and soul. Let us bless His name for our parents, our brothers and sisters, all our relatives and the myriad people who enrich our lives. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God for our spouses and our children and our grandchildren. Let us thank Him for our homes and the means to support and sustain them.

Let us thank our Father too for our citizenship in this greatest of all countries, a beacon of hope in a world of cruelty and despair. Let us thank Him for the men and women who are not with their families on this Thanksgiving Day, being occupied in foreign lands for the defense of our nation and the support of its friends and allies. Let us give thanks to HGod on this day when many Americans may neglect to do so.

Above all, let us give thanks to Him for our salvation in the Son that He sent to redeem us from sin and death. Let us thank Him for the means of grace and the hope of glory. In all things, let us give thanks to the Lord our God, for it is meet and right that we should give Him thanks and praise.

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