Let's see....when you think of Thanksgiving, what immediately comes to mind? For most, I would say turkey dinner with family and friends. Perhaps a day off. Family reunion. Football. The beginning of Christmas season. We're thankful alright, for things. For stuff. For good health. For living in a land of liberty and freedom. All great things, but have we forgotten something? Have we been so focused on the holiday itself that it's turned into a Godless Thanksgiving? Consider this....should we be just thankful "for"? Or should we also be thankful "to"? That's the real question. Thanksgiving "for" (for all the things we have), or thanksgiving "to"(to the one whom all blessings flow)?
On this holiday, have we reduced our gratitude to God to just a ritual pre-meal prayer before we stuff ourselves? Thanksgiving shouldn't be about being grateful for all the things we have, as if inventorying personal assets, without acknowledging that all our blessings are by the grace of God. It should be a day of reflection, gratitude, and praise done with humility, with no hint of greed or selfishness.
The key to really focusing on what this holiday is all about is to simply go back to Abraham Lincoln's proclamation, which established the Thanksgiving holiday in 1863. He declared it to be "a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens". Awesome! In other words, Thanksgiving is supposed to be about God! It's meant to be a special day our country is to stop, and be united in the purpose of acknowledging God's hand in who we are and what we have. That our blessings are the "gracious gifts of the Most High God".
So this Thanksgiving, be reminded of the true purpose of this holiday. And throughout the entire day make sure you give thanks "to", and not just "for". Make it a day of "thanksgiving and praise", just as President Lincoln intended it to be.
Below are the words of Abraham Lincoln (I've added coloring):
"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 unequaled 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 consiousness 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 Unites States the Eighty-eighth. By the President: Abraham Lincoln. William H. Seward, Secretary of State