Weekly Opinion Editorial
GRATEFUL FOR EVERYTHING?
by Steve Fair
Thanksgiving is a holiday tradition that dates back to the 1600s in America. In 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoaqs celebrated a good harvest with a day of thanksgiving and prayer. From that time until 1863, states observed a thanksgiving holiday at their own discretion.
In 1863, President Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving for all states. On Halloween Day in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a presidential proclamation changing Thanksgiving to the next to last Thursday in November. FDR made the date change to boost the economy and give retailers seven more days to sell Christmas gifts. The proclamation/date change was controversial. Opponents called the holiday ‘Franksgiving,’ for the next two years. On December 26, 1941, Roosevelt signed a Joint Resolution of Congress changing Thanksgiving in the U.S. to the fourth Thursday in November. Three observations:
First, Americans have a great deal to be thankful for in 2023. The U.S. is far from perfect, but citizens in the U.S. have more freedom and liberty than anyplace on earth. Americans are, for the most part, able to pursue a dream that others across the planet can only wish for. That blessing didn’t come cheap. Past American heroes gave their life to protect that way of life.
No other country in the world has the illegal immigration issue America has. People, of all races, creeds, and religions, from across the globe seek to migrate to the U.S. because it is better than where they are. Americans should recognize God has shed His grace on them by allowing them to live in the land of the free and home of the brave.
Second, America’s blessings come from the hand of a sovereign God. Americans don’t naturally run faster or jump higher than citizens in other countries, yet the U.S. is the envy of the world. Americans should never pound their chest or pat themselves on the back and take credit for those blessings. They should humbly recognize God has blessed their country in spite of Americans wickedness and depravity.
The decline in the number of people who hold a biblical worldview in America is down by a third since COVID. In a Gallup poll survey last year, 81% of American adults said they believed in God(down 15 percentage points in 10 years), but less than half of that number actually attended a church service in the past year. Taking the blessings of God for granted may very well result in the loss of God’s favor on America.
Third, gratitude should not be celebrated just one day a year. Americans should be appreciative and thankful every day. Having a continual attitude of gratefulness and recognizing acts of kindness others bestow on them could change America from the polarizing, angry, divisive place it has become.
Thanksgiving Day in America has become a day for gathering of family for feasting, and watching sports. Some don’t even recognize it as a day of thanksgiving and call it ‘turkey day.’ Even with those who celebrate thanksgiving, little time is taken to recognize God’s blessings. Charlie Brown (Peanuts) asked a profound question about Thanksgiving: “What if, today, we were grateful for everything?” Good question! Why not indeed?