Gratitude key to Thanksgiving .. Throughout my (now getting to be) long life, I have come to truly believe that a lack 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 gratitude pervades all of the whiners (especially on the left) who generally seem so shallow to everyone who disagrees with them.
When was the last time for instance, you heard anyone talking about reparations begin with, “I am truly grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of people over the years and the role that sacrifice played in freeing my ancestors?”
Or the last time you heard any welfare king or queen begin a conversation with, “You know, I am grateful that so many people 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.”
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.”
A couple of relevant Bible scriptures come to mind – “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 thankful really gets my attention.
Over the years, I’ve had people chide me when I tell them some of the things that I’m thankful for. For example, you have to have lived in some other parts of the world or have done jungle duty to appreciate some simple things like toilet paper, toothpaste and a toothbrush. We have plumbing rather than having to use a common body of water to expel our waste. We have well-paved roads and highways and byways, not rutted dirt tracks in and out of shanty-towns. We are privileged to have a million blessings which much of the rest of the world does not.
There are also a couple of references in the Old Testament that I try to keep close to my own heart before God – “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. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:21-25)
We are correct to acknowledge that there are millions of people in this nation who are grateful and thank God for many blessings. This year’s particular Thanksgiving has special meaning because it is THIS year’s opportunity to give grateful thanks to God for his beneficence; just remember that this particular Thanksgiving will not surface ever again. So let us humbly give thanks and pray to God for those great attributes of faith, mercy, grace, wisdom, truth, love and life!
Shalom to all this Thanksgiving!
Talking about which, Robert Knight in American Thinker…
Talk show host and movie critic Michael Medved once told a cultural conference in Washington that people could be divided into two basic groups — those who are grateful to God and those who are not.
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 Yours truly: Thanksgiving Proclamation
Daniel Greenfield: Why the Left hates Thanksgiving
H/T Robert Knight: The Indispensable Benefits of Gratefulness
Jack Hellner: Remember When Hollywood Celebrated Thanksgiving