Thursday, November 24, 2016
Blessings from Above
THANKSGIVING AND MEMORIES
A friend gave me a book a while back called, The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn, which includes a lot of very interesting “coincidences” about American history and the shifting values of our country through that history, especially in recent years as religion has become sort of a laughingstock to many in our country. I was most struck by the contrast of what I see today in government leaders compared to some things George Washington said in his First Inaugural Address at the founding of our country:
“Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency;”
(as recorded on Bartleby.com)
In terms of national and business leadership, (or for that matter, most of the nationally known outspoken people in our country) it is a rare thing today to hear an individual speak in the spirit of George Washington. What happened to the humility and the recognition that our success stems not from our own efforts alone, but from the grace and guidance of God who has chosen to bless? Even Thanksgiving has become little more than a celebration of the kickoff of Christmas sales and the appearance of a mythical man in a furry red suit who promises to bring presents to all.
Every day many of us are surrounded by material blessings beyond the imagination of millions of people around the globe who have no cars, no closet filled with clothes, no clean water in their non-existent kitchen faucets and no pantry filled with food. And the meals we consume at Thanksgiving truly would be considered great feasts by those who live without. But today, more than any other day, begs the question of whether we are even thankful at all, or have any recognition of our high obligation to God described by Washington.
Every Thanksgiving I turn the television (for which I am grateful today) to a station that covers the Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. As I watch it each year, including this year, I am reminded of how blessed I have been in my life with opportunities and a good home. It makes me remember the childhood years of Thanksgiving dinners meticulously prepared by my mother and various aunts who were often part of our celebrations. It makes me remember the special opportunities I have had in life to see and do wonderful things, such as once watching the Thanksgiving Day parade in person (including the blowing up of the balloons the night before) because of a special cousin who provided me the opportunity. Which also reminds me that I also got to attend once the New Year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena with my parents, with the aid of other special relatives, an aunt and uncle from Phoenix. And those are only two of the many special memories God has granted me through the course of my life.
Today, as I think of these things, I realize that wonderful as all those things are, they do not begin to compare with the incredible parade we shall experience in heaven when Christ leads us in triumph to the throne of God as his followers. I think that is the best thing of all, and suspect President Washington would agree. Recognizing the hand and blessing of God in this world, can be a foreshadowing to remind us of the wonderful things awaiting us in eternity, if we have first humbled ourselves before “The Great Author” to whom we belong and from whom we have received so much. Whether you are in a country that celebrates Thanksgiving Day or not, I encourage you to join me and take time today to express fresh gratitude to God for whatever blessings God has given to you.