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Thanksgiving revisited November 25, 2010

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Uncategorized, US Politics.
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This nation is known for its great philanthropy. Any nation extends a hand, and the USA seems able to assist in some tangible way. To great extent, this generosity is not met with Thanksgiving, but hate. Still, as individuals and as a nation we give, climbing to the moral high ground while our benefactors throw glass around our feet and, sometimes, spit in our faces. This is the beginning of a good argument against foreign aid.

In his book, “The Conscience Of A Conservative”, Barry Goldwater (in 1960 mind you) said this of foreign aid:

“Our present foreign aid program, in sum, is not only ill-administered, but ill-conceived. It has not, in the majority of cases, made the free world stronger; it has made America weaker; and it has created in minds the world over the image of a nation that puts prime reliance, not on spiritual or human values, but on material things that are the stock-in-trade of Communist propaganda. To this extent we have adopted Communist doctrine.” (emphasis is mine, page 79)

To say “we shall pray for you” is looked upon now as a hollow, meaningless gesture. Where’s the beef, indeed? Show me the money, indeed! With the spiritual nature of man given no value, saying that you will pray for me and not offer a loaf of bread is post-Christian heresy! At least, that’s what the post-modern man and woman, as portrayed in the media, would have you believe. If God is not dead, he is absent, they will tell you. And, in some measure, it is true.

God is absent when we send Him away. The USA is an example of what happens when a nation transitions from a spiritually-based leadership to the nihilistic “universe revolves around me” leadership it has today. It did not happen overnight. As you can tell from the echo of Mr. Goldwater’s voice coming back to us from 50 years ago, it has been a long time in the works.

A revival of sorts for the spiritual man began with the recent election. The rally cry was something like this: Stop the carnality, reckless misuse and misappropriation of resources, and get on your knees in humility and pray for God’s forgiveness and beseech Him to return and guide our nation.

Time will tell if it will become an overwhelming force or just another in a string of small fits-and-spurts.

St. Paul wrote: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” – Philippians 4:11

Paul, the “Jew among Jews” turned follower of Jesus Christ, defines true Thanksgiving: being content in wealth or poverty, in health or sickness. Thus, every day is Thanksgiving Day.

Paul would be shocked to walk the streets of our cities today. We don’t think in terms of “privileges” granted from God, we demand our “rights”. We find little to be thankful for in poverty and sickness. We choose to condemn God for these, if we bother to acknowledge Him, or worse, simply ignore His very existence. Our health and wealth is a shield, so we think. No day of reckoning on the horizon.

We have become a nation of “victims”, not victors, as we were made to be.

As Cal Thomas pointed out in his op-ed on Fox news earlier today: “Thanksgiving used to mean the expression of gratitude to God for His many blessings. Now, in our politically correct age when God’s name can only be invoked when one is cursing, we give thanks “to whom it may concern” for fear of offending the unbeliever. This emphasis on self and material things has not produced the advertised results.” He concludes with this:
“Maybe an “attitude of gratitude” to God for the essentials in life will produce more of what we truly need and less of what we think we want. — Don’t look for any ads about that because at Thanksgiving, as at other seasons, happiness is a “spiritual condition.” The early Christmas ads you are seeing on TV and in newspapers are selling products that can never fill that void in all of us.” 

John Stossel takes another approach, again from Fox news earlier today:

“If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in it, each person has an incentive to be a free-rider, to do as little as possible and take as much as possible because what one fails to take will be taken by someone else. Soon, the pot is empty.

What private property does — as the Pilgrims discovered — is connect effort to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more. Then, if there’s a free market, people will trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack. Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the community richer.”

The communal or socialist system the Pilgrims originally worked from failed. Community first, over the individual, failed. We have seen it in our lifetimes with the fall of Soviet Russia and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

So, is my Thanksgiving message to you that you should be more religious? No. That you must surrender yourself to Christ and then, as an individual following Christ, you can join with other believers to build up the community you are called to join.  In doing so, you will demonstrate the true foundations of Thanksgiving.

If you want to know how “the world” views Thanksgiving Day, look no further than CNN’s website. Their two contributions are headlined: “Obama pardons turkeys” and Lunchtime poll – the stuffing kerfuffle.” Very sad, but right to the heart of the secular media game plan for destroying the republic.

Newt Gingrich adds this from his newsletter: “Throughout our history, Americans were called hundreds of times by their leaders to days of fasting and prayer and subsequent days of thanksgiving often by local officials and governors.

The first Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by the Governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 20, 1676. The council wanted to offer thanks for a series of victories in the ongoing “War with the Heathen Natives” setting apart the 29th of June as a “day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favor.” 

But it was President George Washington at the request of the Congress, who on October 3, 1789 issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation from New York City. Setting aside November 26, the proclamation stated that “our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.”

Washington issued his second Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1795. Presidents Adams, Jefferson and Madison all issued proclamation calling for a day of Thanksgiving.

But few Americans gathering this week with family and friends for the feast know about the woman most credited with making Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.

Born Sarah J. Buell on October 24, 1788, in Newport, New Hampshire, it was Sarah Josepha Hale’s persistent petitions that brought about the holiday. She sent hundreds of letters to politicians including five presidents imploring them to institute a national day of thanksgiving.

Buell became one of the most influential women in the United States as the editor of the most widely circulated women’s magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book. She also penned “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” the most-well-known poem in American history.

But it was not until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln received her letter in the midst of the Civil War that the New England tradition would become a national one. “If every state would join in Thanksgiving,” she wrote, “would it not be a renewed pledge of love and loyalty to the Constitution?” Lincoln agreed.”

Finally, some parting words from Mr. Goldwater:  “The American government does not have the right, much less the obligation, to try to promote economic and social welfare of foreign peoples. [Our] Constitution does not empower our government to undertake that job in foreign countries, no matter how worthwhile it might be. , the Foreign Aid program is unconstitutional.”

Does that mean we don’t care? Not at all. It means we must put things into perspective…that is, God’s perspective. Then, we can humbly move to our knees in prayer.

For today, that’s the Great Thanksgiving we need to speak daily as we humbly kneel before His throne of grace: “Take me as I am, Lord, a sinner who wants to join Your army to fight the good fight until the day the victory is won in Your honor and glory and in Your holy name.”

The secular and material have a strong allure. Resist them and join the cause for good in the name of the Living God. Then, we may be content, in good or ill, in snowdrift or sun blaze, holding fast to the hand of the living God. If all you can do is pray, your prayers are lifted like incense to the very throne of God.



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