“It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance.” – Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1777 by the Continental Congress.
Pastor Jim McClarty of SalvationByGrace.org has recorded an excellent video of himself reading two Thanksgiving Proclamations of the United States. He has also made the text of the Proclamations of 1777-1784, 1789, 1863, and 1888 available on his website here. The Patriot Post also has a great article on the history of Thanksgiving in the U.S., going as far back as 1607 during the time of the Settlers.
I thought it would be a good idea to see how far this nation has fallen from its origins and theological understanding of God and man’s duty to God as His creature. Without getting into all the details of the Founding Fathers erring theological views, let us appreciate the Puritan heritage their minds were clearly impregnated with and pray to God today’s leaders repent and seek God Almighty. Above all, let us be thankful first and foremost for the forgiveness that is ours in Christ.
Charles Spurgeon exhorts us to give a higher place to praise and thanksgiving,
“If you search the world around, among all choice spices you shall scarcely meet with the frankincence of gratitude. We do not praise the Lord fitly, proportionately, intensely. We receive a continent of mercies and only return an island of praise. He gives us blessings new every morning and fresh every evening; great is His faithfulness. And yet we let the years roll round and seldom observe a day of praise. Sad is it to see God all goodness and man all ingratitude!
I put it in another shape to you who are God’s people—most of us pray more than we praise. You pray little enough, I fear; but praise, where is that? At our family altars we always pray but seldom praise. In our closets we constantly pray, but do we frequently praise? Prayer is not so heavenly an exercise as praise; prayer is for time, but praise is for eternity. Praise therefore deserves the first and highest place, does it not?
Let us commence the employment that occupies the celestials. Prayer is for a beggar, but methinks he is a poor beggar who does not also give praise when he recieves alms. Praise ought to follow naturally upon the heels of prayer, even when it does not, by divine grace, go before it.” (At the Master’s Feet, November 26)
Thanksgiving Bible Verses:
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NASB).
“O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
‘When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
‘For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
‘Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.’” (Psalm 95, NASB)
- 1 Corinthians 1:4-5; 2 Corinthians 4:15-16; 2 Cor. 9:11-12; Eph. 1:15-16; 1 Tim. 4:4-5; 1 Chr. 16:34; Ps. 7:17; Ps. 28:7; Ps. 100:4; Ps. 106:1; Is. 12:4; Jer. 33:11; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 5:18, etc.
~Soli Deo Gloria~