As we celebrate our national Thanksgiving holiday in 2009, are you feeling worry, fear, anger, or despair about the direction of our country? Let us instead give thanks.
As we pass through this temporal world of “tares and wheat,” we may vacillate between seeing the glass as half empty instead of half full. Many patriotic Americans are sad and fearful at what they see happening in the country we love so dearly:
We are confronted with a sputtering economy with a weak jobs market.
Fiscal insanity prevails in Washington where an already bankrupt government persists in digging ever deeper into the hole of unrepayable debts.
The potential for a second government-induced depression is real, as is an eventual hyperinflationary collapse of our currency.
Zealous ideologues in power seek even broader powers to regiment our lives. They would impoverish us by striving to regulate energy consumption, reducing our choices for health care and health care insurance, and pushing for a climate change agreement in Copenhagen next month that would redistribute U.S. wealth abroad and reduce American sovereignty.
With that as a backdrop, let us make extra efforts to give thanks to God Almighty this November:
Let us rejoice that we are still free to speak and work and act to undo the harmful policies that have been imposed upon us.
Let us honor our forefathers for having the courage, the vision, and the values to take on the mightiest military power on earth and win an astounding, world-changing victory for freedom. The founders faced far worse odds than what we face today, and they suffered hardships that we can barely imagine to secure for us the blessings of liberty.
Let us be thankful for the countless profit-seeking businessmen, famous and obscure, who took advantage of our free-enterprise system to enrich the lives of generations of Americans.
Let us be thankful for those we love, and for the innumerable acts of kindness done every day by people of all religious (including nonreligious) beliefs.
Let us be grateful for the enormous progress we have made at curtailing the curse of racism from this republic, and for a level of prosperity that even now is far beyond what was dreamt of just a few short generations ago.
Mostly, let us be grateful to God on high and remember what those who have consecrated their lives to Him have accomplished.
Let us be grateful for the faith of Moses, who proved that one with God is a majority. If we are tempted to despair today at the sight of millions of Americans, rich and poor, willing to trade freedom for the illusive security of government handouts, let us remember that this is nothing new. The children of Israel repeatedly grumbled about the demands of freedom, and longed for the fleshpots of Egypt during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness. God blessed the Hebrew people in ways that human planning never could and brought them to the Promised Land.
Let us be grateful, too, for the apostle Paul and his truly awesome example of devotion, commitment, and courage. For most of us, today’s trials are trivial in comparison to Paul’s. Consider his experience: “five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep … in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (II Corinthians 11:24, 25, 27). After going through all that, Paul could still affirm, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake” (II Corinthians 12:10).
Mostly, though, as we approach Anno Domini 2010, let us give thanks for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and think of what he suffered that through him we might be reconciled to God. Let us take heart from his promise, “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Similarly, let us banish discouragement and remember Paul’s inspired declaration that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39). “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15).
With confidence in God’s mercy and power, let us press on in the good fight to bequeath to our posterity “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
Indeed, let us give thanks and rejoice.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.