My friend’s letter to the Editor of the local newspaper was printed the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 2016. It was in response to the paper’s Editorial about President Roosevelt’s proclamation of “Thanksgiving Day”, referencing Presidents Washington’s and Lincoln’s gratitude for God’s blessings on America.
My friend read President Roosevelt’s Proclamation to his family as they sat down to their Thanksgiving Day dinner. Each family member was experiencing something different, from medical & physical challenges to athletic achievement, from job loss to career advancement, from a sparse apartment to a large home. Yet, each was grateful for God’s blessings, because each understood the random, defenseless occurrence of the slings & arrows of outrageous fortunes, to whom no one is immune.
Isn’t it odd:
That George Washington, presiding over a nation wobbling on the newborn legs of Freedom and Democracy, would proclaim for Americans to thank God for their blessings, midst the political turmoil of an uncertain future?
That Abraham Lincoln, presiding over a nation torn-in-two by those not believing that ALL men are created equal, would proclaim for all citizens to thank “Our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens”, for their blessings, midst the harvest of war’s carnage, on once pristine farm fields?
That Franklin D. Roosevelt, presiding over a nation crushed by economic depression, would proclaim for citizens to thank God for their blessings, midst the brutal poverty of the jobless, homeless, and starving? Roosevelt would remind citizens that “Americans have thanked God for their blessings. In our deepest natures, in our very souls, we turn to God in times of trouble and in times of happiness.”
That from those days (at almost 70-year intervals) to this day (almost 70 years later) our culture dragged God from our marketplace and homes, to worship at the altar of door-buster gizmos & gadgets, to give thanks for self-indulgent stuff, to satisfy our wants.
Perhaps, Washington, Lincoln, & Roosevelt would not be “Thankful” for what America has become?
Perhaps, they would pray for the return of a genuine Thanksgiving of what we have, instead of what we want?