This past year has been a very full one for me. Between my glorious trip to Israel and the sadness of my father's death, it seems to have flown by with barely a pause for breath.
Today, as a nation, we make ourselves pause to take that breath and to return thanks to our sovereign God and King. All that He has given us, both through trials and blessings, come from His hand to turn us to Him and to teach us to reflect His glory and holiness. God sheds His grace on both His children and those who hate Him; He is patient and kind in showing forth His love so that all men know His eternal godhead and power - even if they refuse to acknowledge it.
This Thanksgiving, as you enjoy your dinner or football game and the company of family and friends, I pray that you will take some time to reflect on God's love and kindness and the blessings He has poured out into your life. If you have not already bowed your head and trusted in Him with your whole heart, I pray that you will take this opportunity to do so and become His true child, destined for eternal blessing.
Father, as we come before You today, we lift up our voices in praise and gratitude to the only wise God. We offer You our thanks for the protection and provision You have given to us throughout the year, and we humbly ask that - if it be Your will - You continue to set a hedge of protection around us.
You provide for all our needs, Father, and so many of our wants! Help us to remember Your generosity so that we become generous people in response.
Thank You for this prosperous and free country we live in; please allow us to continue to grow in freedom. But more importantly, please send Your Spirit to revive our hearts and turn them towards You so that we may grow in righteousness and holiness. Help us to show our gratitude to You by obeying You and reflecting Your love and glory to the world.
UPDATE: Ah, I've been reminded of George Washington's proclamation of the first day of Thanksgiving, and am reproducing it here. President Washington says it far better than I ever could!
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 favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH 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 for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.
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;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington