Thanksgiving is, was, and always should be about thankfulness, but not to each other. Thanksgiving wasn’t started by President Abraham Lincoln but he was the first to make a national declaration:
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
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. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and 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, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
As you gather your family together, be sure to thank God for the fact that you are alive and that you live in the greatest country the world has ever known. Thank God that you don’t worry about where your next meal is coming from. Thank God that you don’t have to watch your back all the time, that you have a place where you can meet together without fear of being persecuted or hurt.
Atheists rightly wonder what God has to do with it all. Allow me a few minutes to indulge them.
It is God who created the heavens and the earth.
It is God who set man upon it.
It is God who freed us from our oppressors.
It is God who gave us commandments and told us how to rightly live so we can have peace and plenty.
It is God who put into our hearts a spirit of contentment and a willingness to obey his commandments.
When we obey God, and live by his commandments, and enjoy the bounties of the world and universe he created for us, and placed us in, how can we not be thankful?
Which one of us knows how to create a universe, let alone do it? Which one of us can organize a planet and make it inhabitable for human life? Which one of us can create life by his own devices?
Who here can claim to have earned their own freedom? Or can you only say that you were given the gift of freedom by people or beings known and unknown?
Which one of us knows how to live rightly without being told by God? This fact seems to escape the atheist who adheres to Christian morals, but before Christ came, there was no such thing as Christian morals. Search the whole earth, and the closest thing you’ll find was the Jews and their traditions. Before Christ, we had Eastern Philosophers that told us “Don’t do to each other what you don’t want done to you” but what did they build with that, and what was their heritage? It was not until the message of Christ came to the earth and entered into human thought that Western Civilization was even possible.
And when you obey those Christian ideals and live by them, and then reap the rewards promised, can you claim that you did so of your own accord, or that there was a certain feeling of compassion or kindness set in your heart that you cannot name the source of?