“Food, football and family” are the trio of answers that seemed to dominate the minds of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) students at the local junior high school this past week. The question generating the responses: “What are the first things you think about when you hear the word, Thanksgiving?” After some gentle prodding, they also remembered the word itself is somewhat of a self-defined sort, as Giving Thanks might be a valuable part worth mentioning for the fourth Thursday of November.
As the years continue to march forward, my attitude of gratitude still sometimes gets stuck on the provisions of thanksgiving and not on the GIVER that grants the provisions. This is not something new within our society as the following words from the past attest to our forgetfulness:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
These words are part of a proclamation given by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Even during the depths of our nation’s Civil War, our sixteenth Commander-in-Chief recognized our desire for self-reliance and self-sufficiency. A craving that continues more than 150 years later. However, our nineteenth century ancestors were also not the first to forget God…even though these forerunners, the Hebrews, were warned prior to crossing into the Promised Land more than 2000 years before.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not FORGET the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.” (Deut. 4:9a)
Then the second portion of this verse tells them/us how to remember God and not forget Him:
“Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deut. 4:9b)
This Thanksgiving let us focus on remembering the GIVER and FORGIVER as we continuously share this spiritual gratitude with our family and friends.