OUR OPINION: A season of thanks for all life’s bounties

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:14)

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me … .” (Psalm 50:23)

“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 75:1)

“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1)

“Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men …” (from “A General Thanksgiving” from the Book of Common Prayer)

Next week our nation will observe Thanksgiving Day, and now is an excellent time to begin preparing our hearts to do justice to the occasion and its Divine Object.

At the risk of sounding like scolds, it does seem that as a culture we do our utmost with turkey pardons, parades, football, Christmas shopping and a host of other activities to crowd out the day’s spiritual content, confining it to as narrow a window as possible – a reflection of our growing collective discomfort with Divinity and embrace of more secular worldviews.

The truth remains that the day was devised as and remains an occasion collectively to reflect on God’s benevolence and to offer words and feelings of praise and gratitude.

Truly, if any nation has been blessed, it is the United States of America.

President George Washington recognized such in his first Thanksgiving Proclamation, noting “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.”

We do not implore those who conscientiously object to religion to embrace the day in ways contrary to their beliefs.

What we ask, though, is that those of us who consider ourselves people of faith intentionally carve out time in this Thanksgiving season to think seriously of our individual and collective blessings, to implore God for mercy and direction, and to offer him the heartfelt gratitude we owe.