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Guest Post: A Thanksgiving Exhortation, by Adam Lee


Sitting in my home this morning, preparing my heart and mind for all that the Lord has in store for us this day, I am so blessed as I consider all His goodness upon me, my family, our town, state and nation. As a nation, this goodness is not deserved. We have long since ceased to be a nation that fears God. We are living on the coat-tails of a heritage passed down to us from men and women who did fear God and sought His glory above their own.


When God gives us what we deserve, that is called justice (a popular word being thrown about these days). True justice is not that which man deals out, but what a holy God does.


When God withholds punishment that we do deserve, that is called mercy.


When God gives us good things that we do not deserve, that is called grace.


In a very real way, every human being has been the recipient of God’s mercy and grace to some degree or another. Today as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we ought to be thinking of these attributes of God and let His praises sound from our lips for His mercy and grace to us.


Thanksgiving is among my favorite holidays. It is tied for first place alongside the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Christian fulfillment of it in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is my favorite holiday because it is not commercialized. The very idea of Thanksgiving admits that we are not self-existent. We have a heart that yearns to thank the One who created us. Yes, we can thank one another…we can thank our parents, our boss…why, we can even thank ourselves, I suppose. But those all fall short and will make the day so much less than it really is meant to be if we do not humbly submit to the God who created us.


A few days ago, I heard that there is a group of people who are calling Thanksgiving “A Celebration of Genocide and Colonialism.” The more they spoke, the more they revealed their ignorance about what this day was set apart for. I am sure most people know a little about the Pilgrims (Puritans who fled England for religious freedom). I am sure that most people know that they had a hard winter and had a feast with the Indians to celebrate the goodness of God to them all…but that is where most history books stop today. They are truly ignorant of this day.


Those who would reject Thanksgiving would do well to read the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, given DURING the Civil War. Consider that this was a war to set men free. There was so much to lose heart over in 1863, but listen to His words:


“The year that is drawing toward 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 even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.


In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, 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 theater of military conflict; while that theater 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 defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax 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 battlefield, 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, tranquility, and union.”

You will notice that Thanksgiving is not just about remembering what the Pilgrims went through. It is seeing the hand of God…His Mercy, His Grace, His Justice…being handed out in our daily lives as He sees fit and living our lives in humble submission to Him. It is not only a day of reflecting back upon 400 years, but a reflecting on what God is doing in our lives presently as well.


May this day be for you and for me, a day of worship and acknowledgement that God is ruler of all. That you and I are His creation, created equal in His sight. May you know Him more and more and learn to trust Him. We have much to be thankful for as we engage with our families, friends, dinner, football, or other traditions you may have. Today, consider starting a new tradition. Open your Bible and read the following passages: Psalm 100 and Colossians 3:1-17.


If you have never considered Thanksgiving to be a God-centered holiday, may you find new richness in this day, as you ponder it anew. If you do not know the God of whom I speak, I encourage you to seek Him in the Scriptures and reach out to me or someone you can trust, to guide you in understanding what you read.


HAVE A BLESSED AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING.


With all sincerity,

Adam Lee


 

*This is a guest post by Adam Lee. The views expressed are those of Adam Lee, and not endorsed by the New Gloucester GOP. The New Gloucester GOP supports the right of individuals to submit guest blog posts freely, and without censorship. If you are interested in sharing an article, or post please send all submissions to newgloucestergop@gmail.com

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