During his day, it is said that every word that Rudyard Kipling wrote was worth twenty-five shillings. Hearing this, a group of college students got together and wrote him a letter which said: "We understand that every word you write is worth twenty-five shillings. Enclosed is twenty-five shillings, send us your best word."
A couple of days later, these college students received a telegram from Mr. Kipling. The telegram consisted of one word. That one word, his best word, was: "Thanks!"
That may very well be the best word there is in the English or any other language.
I hope you are ready to give thanks.
Listen to the first Thanksgiving Proclamation - written by George Washington in 1789 -
”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 His favor; 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 public Thanksgiving and Prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts, the many favors of Almighty God.
Especially by affording them an opportunity to establish a form of Government for their safety and happiness. Now I do recommend and assign, Thursday, the 26th of November, next, to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the benevolent author of all the good that was, that is, and that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere thanks for His kind care and protection for the people of this country.”
I can’t wait to see the new Lincoln movie! Here is Lincoln's 1863 Proclamation. It was more of an indictment.
“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we've 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've become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
I know that a lot of people would love to use these two proclamations to gripe about how far our nation has fallen from its origins in Christianity. But that’s not me. The U.S. is what it is. The election is what it is. I did my part, and I will do my part to keep us heading back towards God.
But Thanksgiving is not about a country. It’s personal. I can’t force anyone else to give thanks. I’m thankful we still get a national holiday to do it. And when the atheists tell my grandchildren that the Pilgrims were giving thanks to the Indians, I’ll just gently correct them and remind them that some people like to make up history to support their own ideas.
What Lincoln and Washington were calling for, and what I’m reminding you of today, is that it is EVERYONE’S personal responsibility to join in Thanksgiving.
I mean, hey, I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my son-in-law who is from Britain! Should my prayer be “God, thank you for allowing us freedom from the horrible Redcoats?”
What’s Ash supposed to pray about?
This holiday is a time for us to give thanks to God for anything and everything He’s done for us. I’d love for our nation to turn to God. I would love for Great Britain to turn to God. I would love for everyone to give thanks to God on Thursday. But there is very little I can do to make that happen.
What I can do is make sure I don’t forget.
One of the most repeated verses in the Bible is the beginning verse of Psalm 136.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.”
Pray for the country, and the world – but don’t forget to do your own Thanksgiving. Lest you become “too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”