More than three hundred and ninety years since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, their example has not been forgotten. For etched in the collective memory of America is the truth that, from those first settlers who fled Europe in quest of religious freedom to those today who seek refuge within our borders from oppression the world over, we owe praise to “the Power that made and preserved us a nation.”
While modern life often crowds out reflection of the past, it is imperative that we remember who we are as a people, and why we celebrate.
Our first President, George Washington proclaimed our first National Day of Thanksgiving 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 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 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 26th 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 . . . [Read more from this proclamation HERE]
As we gather with friends and family to celebrate God’s many blessings, may we be mindful not only of the blessings we enjoy, but of the price paid by others to secure them. And as the ancient English prayer implores, may we offer thanks “not only with our lips, but in our lives.”
Joe and Kathleen Miller