Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving: A Matter Of Proper Perspective

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

Wiser voices than mine have said how a person expresses "thanks" and to whom or what that "thanks" is directed says much about what they really believe.

Chuck Norris wrote an article last week titled, "Neutering Religious Holidays," observing that "we haven't even hit Thanksgiving, and already the war on Christmas is underway" and concluded that we "are heading down a slippery slope in our culture."

As a guest of Fox News Network, he was asked about the article and his mention of a cultural slippery slope. He mentioned Montgomery County School District (which we wrote about a couple of weeks ago) as the latest causality in this war.

He put some of the blame for the cultural slide at the feet of President Obama and his unwillingness to stand for biblical values...marriage, abortion, etc.

The secular left exploded toward Norris.

"So," Norris said in typical Texas Ranger style, "I decided to look into it."

"I decided to compare President Obama's Thanksgiving addresses over the past several years with that of President George Washington," Norris says.

It's revealing, to say the least.

Again in Texas Ranger style he titled his article, "Obama vs. George Washington O\on Thanksgiving."

I encourage you to read his entire article.

This is a summary, with some of my own thoughts:

  • 2013. (He has not yet made his 2014 Proclamation as we publish this article). The president didn't give a single mention of the Pilgrims, their Christian devotion, or their God. However, he shared his gratitude for the Native Americans and their generosity during that first Thanksgiving.

    Although he gave a litany of "we give thanks," none included faith.
  • 2012. President Obama didn't make a single reference to the Pilgrims, their faith, their God or any thanks to God in any form, rather explaining that Thanksgiving "is a day full of family, friends, food and football."

    While he made a general reference to "religious choice," he characterized Thanksgiving as a time we can look our children in the eye and tell them "no dream is too big if you're willing to work for it."

    And he said, "Thanksgiving is a time to put it all in perspective."

    But when the perspective omits God, it is misleading as to what Thanksgiving is intended to be.

    I'll come back to that in a moment.
  • 2011. President Obama said, "The very first Thanksgiving was a celebration of community during a time of great hardship." God was omitted.
  • 2010. Not a single reference to Thanksgiving's religious history or gratitude to God except one reference to the "God given bounty."
  • 2009. President Obama's first proclamation. No mention of Thanksgiving's real history or any gratitude to God. He did, however emphasize his Recovery Act legislation.

Thanksgiving is indeed a matter of perspective. And it is in fact a deeply religious holiday.

Norris says we've got to teach our children and grand children a proper perspective on this deeply religious holiday.

He says the Pilgrims learned "to give thanks in everything" (I Thess. 5:18).

To find a clear perspective on what Thanksgiving in America is really all about, we need look no further than a majority of those presidents who have preceded President Obama.

Many spoke with clarity about the true meaning of Thanksgiving, but none more clearly than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

President Washington was the first US President to issue a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Congress agreed with him and passed a resolution that requested the president "Recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God."

And so, on Oct. 3, 1789, President Washington gave a 450-word religious proclamation, which contains from beginning to end nothing but a list of blessings for which the nation should be exclusively thankful to God alone.

Among those bountiful blessings is this partial list from Washington:

“Whereas 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. … Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks … and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

President Washington was saying what the Apostle Paul had said more than a thousand years before.

Paul's perspective was this, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

More important than the President's perspective, is our own personal perspective. Who is our source---to whom are we grateful?

I'll be sharing more on Paul's perspective of thanksgiving tomorrow morning on the radio. You may join me live at 9 AM PST or rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PST. Here's how.

Be Thankful. Be Grateful. Be Blessed.