This year many are facing wholly unexpected circumstances, situations that were beyond their imagining a year or two ago. It may be family dispersed, finances dissolved, households in disarray… the stable times being replaced by insecurity, perhaps even loss.
These are times, no matter where we find ourselves, be it at the head of the table in the family dining room or surrounded by others queued up to receive the blessing of a meal at a charity kitchen, when we must recall what has been taken for granted throughout most of our lives. It may be, by Providence, that I am in a position by which to order these things in my mind and my heart.
For more than a year, I have had the opportunity to travel this country in ministry. Not the kind of mission work that is sustained by a particular church or denomination, being unaffiliated with institutions; but having a ministry that is simple… that of sharing the Word of God, our Christ Jesus, through the few gifts He has put in my charge. It has been an eye-opening experience to take the leap of leaving a well-ordered life, travel this nation and be invited into homes to share their bounty, or lack, as the case may be.
The core of our country is comprised of generous people, who often give when they can least afford to do so, those who understand the nature of our beginnings and our sovereignty. When we recall the words spoken by President George Washington as he answered the call for a national day to give thanks to our true provider, God, he did not forget the years of struggle, hardship and loss he and his neighbors had suffered in order to create this exceptional nation…
“Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a Day Of Public Thanksgiving 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 enabled 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 pleased to confer upon us.”
Any words that I may write cannot come close to expressing the fervor of our first president in acknowledging God and His role in what we now benefit: a free country, should we choose to keep it.
Consider the last words written above. We have made foolish choices in keeping our own counsel rather than that of God, decisions that have placed us upon a threshold of once again losing the liberty for which these men and women fought so diligently. Instead of giving thanks where it is due, we have raised up generations that expect to never experience hardship or want, they demand what they do not understand, rising up in the streets proclaiming disenfranchisement when they are so incredibly endowed with plenty that they cannot recognize it.
Being challenged to travel this country, taking nothing but the Bible as guide, and faith as provider, has expanded my perspective further than I could have anticipated, to recognize the power of hope and standing strong in the face of adversity. History teaches us that when we relinquish our connection to God, our Creator, and follow our own thoughts, giving praise and worship to false powers created by man (Jeremiah 44:15-20 – you might like to insert “government” in place of Queen of Heaven), then do we lose our baseline, direction and, ultimately, our liberty. Desolation occurs in the heart first and the land follows.
President Washington spoke the words by which we can live and give thanks with clear conscience, knowing that whatever circumstance or wherever we find ourselves on any day, not just Thanksgiving Day, we realize that from which this nation arose… from servitude to man, a king, to freedom in God’s bounty. Remember at what cost was our liberty won and give praise and thanks to our Creator, to Christ, who led our forefathers, through faith, to establish what we now take for granted.
Wherever you may be, under shelter or a chandelier, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the hope, faith and sacrifice made for each of us.
A. Dru Kristenev & Toddy Littman
Thursday 24 November 2011