Throughout my now getting to be a long life, I have come to truly believe that a lack of attitude of gratitude is one of the biggest sins that human beings commit, and in a fraction of my earlier life, I was one of the most egregious of the ungrateful; (pride will do that to you). A lack of an attitude of gratitude that pervades all of the whiners (especially on the left) who generally seem so shallow to everyone else who disagrees with them. Just when was the last time you heard anyone talking about reparations begin with, “I am truly full of an attitude of gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of mostly white people and others, and the role that sacrifice played in freeing my ancestors?”
Or when was the last time you heard any welfare queen begin a conversation with, “You know, I am grateful that so many whites and others work hard enough and pay enough taxes that makes it possible for me and my family to live. I know I would like to have a little more, but without their sacrifice, I would have absolutely nothing. They deserve a lot of attitude of gratitude. Thank you?”
Or, “I live in a pretty rough neighborhood and I am so grateful for the police who keep it just barely livable. It could be so much worse than it is if it wasn’t for these guys who literally lay their lives on the line for us each and every day, many of whom are white?”
Or, “I know that there are times when I may not be as comfortable as I would like here at college, but, you know what? – At least there is a college that I can go to. Not everyone gets that opportunity and I’m glad that I do. I know that I have to thank the taxpayers that provide the funds for all this. I promise that I will buckle down and get to class so that I can be successful and maybe make society a little better for all those taxpayers who helped me. I owe them that much, a great debt of attitude of gratitude.”
And this year of course, with the dust still settling around us from perhaps the most contentiously-challenged presidential race in history (but definitely within the past 50+ years), methinks there might well be more than a few Thanksgiving get-togethers where families are no doubt rent into pieces over an attitude of who voted for whom, why, and why the one side or the other have got it all completely skew-whiff.
A couple of relevant Bible scriptures come to mind … That horrible and degenerate description of evil and lewdness you read about in Romans Chapter 1 is headed by a description of people who knew God but did not glorify him, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21-23) That part about not being of a thankful attitude really gets my attention, as it should everyone reading this.
Also in the Old Testament there are a couple of references I try to keep close to my own heart before God. He daily loads us with benefits and his mercies are new every morning, as in “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
In a marathon debate over the “where’s, why’s, and what-nots” of the Trumpit phenomenon on a couple of my Facebook threads yesterday (a very civil debate atmosphere, I must say, yet no less contentious), I summed it up thusly: “The underlying aspect of all of this angst, is that God delivered the nation from an unbearably evil and destructive force that unfortunately seeped into the very heart and soul of what this nation was originally founded upon, and yes, the Trumpit sound is hardly coming from a man of righteous demeanor – Indeed, whenever has it not been so? … BUT .. he is the man for the hour, and like the rest of us he will be held accountable … I’m sorry to go back and repeat what I’ve said already, but the quality of people he has surrounding him has to have some effect at some point .. unfortunately, we’re not subject to the reasons why, or for what purpose, certain of these decisions are being made … To outfox the fox, you need to become a fox, even a faux fox … Time is of the essence…”
On a similar occasion in God’s being called to bear upon the proclivities of prosperity after a turning away, Moses pleads on God’s behalf to the strident children of Israel in the great treatise of Deuteronomy 30. In every age, there are moments when it is again “today,” a kairos moment (ie “a propitious moment for decision or action”) in which God’s people, individually and collectively, are offered “life and prosperity, death and adversity”. To first-century Christians, the letter to the Hebrews declares it, “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Chapters 3:7,15; and 4:7). Whenever God’s word is read, it is again that “today” in which each of us must decide how we will respond:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. ~ Deut 30: 19-20
We are correct to acknowledge that there are millions of people in this nation who are full of an attitude of gratitude and thank God for many blessings. This year’s “today” Thanksgiving has special meaning because it is THIS year’s “today” opportunity to give grateful thanks to God for his beneficence; this particular “today” Thanksgiving will not surface ever again. So yes, I am full of an attitude of gratitude to God and for those great attributes of real truth, faith, wisdom, love, mercy and life, and I pray that you are too.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ~ Joshua 24: 15
Shalom to y’all on this attitude of gratitude “today” Thanksgiving.
Talking about which, Robert Knight from the archives of American Thinker…
For the ungrateful, the day begins with new complaints about their sorry state, which is usually someone else’s fault. Check out any elite, mob-besieged campus for the latest evidence.
For those filled with gratitude, however, life begins each day with a simple thanks to God for another day of life and the hope that God will bless their endeavors throughout the day.
The Pilgrims are credited with celebrating the nation’s first Thanksgiving in 1621, the year after the Mayflower landed. Despite having lost numerous souls during the voyage and after a harsh winter, they gathered for a feast with several dozen Indians at Plymouth, Massachusetts to thank God following their first harvest.
Farther south, in the nation’s first English colony of Jamestown, which was founded in 1607, historians have chronicled many days devoted to thanksgiving, beginning in 1610.
More than a century and a half later, Benjamin Franklin, whose invocation of prayer turned around a stalled constitutional convention at the dawn of a new nation, reminded himself and his countrymen to be thankful for providential blessings great and small. He saw gratitude as indispensable to mental and societal health. As for its opposite, he said bluntly that “ingratitude is one of the most odious of vices.”
One of Franklin’s many recorded prayers includes this passage: “Let me not be unmindful to acknowledge the favours I receive from Heaven …. For all Thy innumerable benefits; for life and reason, and the use of speech, for health and joy and every pleasant hour, my Good God, I thank thee.”
We are truly blessed to live in a free and prosperous nation, which, for all its faults, still has a large number of grateful citizens who understand just how rare and precious it is.
Looking around at the rest of the world, it’s getting easier every day to make the case for American exceptionalism and the enduring importance of our Christian heritage.
Robert Knight is a Senior Fellow at the American Civil Rights Union.
See also: Thanksgiving Proclamation