The calendar says it’s time for Thanksgiving, but if you watch the news, spend any time on social media, or drive a few miles in heavy traffic, it becomes clear that thankfulness is in short supply right now.
We are a nation fixated on the negative. We have abandoned objective standards, and seem to be caught in a downward spiral of competing parties constantly asking, “what about” the offenses of the other. Instead of lifting each other up, we seem determined to drag our entire society into an abys of perpetual offense and shame.
Compare our current situation to the mood at the founding of the country. Imagine how a president would be mocked today if he were to simply echo the words of President Washington who said, “it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”
Imagine the shock that would follow if a modern President were to urge people not only to be thankful, but to offer “prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the people…”
Perhaps what our nation needs right now is a reminder to be deliberate about being thankful. We still live in a nation where we enjoy freedoms that are the exception rather than the norm in human history. We have been blessed with prosperity and security that remains the envy of the world, and we are each free to express our gratitude to God in a way that is consistent with our convictions.
It would be easy to allow ourselves to be drawn further into the negativity that seems so prevalent, but my hope is that each of us will make the extra effort to be thankful on purpose this week.