2 Reasons Thanksgiving Is Being Forgotten
It seems Thanksgiving Day is becoming less important in America today. Why is this 151-year-old national holiday becoming overlooked? Does thankfulness matter?
As another Thanksgiving Day approaches, not much has been in the news about it. There’s been more discussion about the Black Friday sales following Thanksgiving than Thanksgiving Day itself! Is this American national holiday not important anymore? Why is Thanksgiving being forgotten?
When Thanksgiving first became a national holiday in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called it “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
President Lincoln’s proclamation also said: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added … [by] the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
Lincoln continued: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God. … It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”
So why don’t American leaders, or even average Americans, talk like this anymore? Consider two reasons:
Reason No. 1: We have forgotten how to be thankful
The intent of this national holiday was to be thankful for the blessings from God. The idea of being thankful should impress upon us that we are undeserving of the many good things we have received. But do we understand this today?
Black Friday sales dominate the thoughts of many during the Thanksgiving season. It seems that many would rather focus on getting things for themselves than giving thanks to God.Today an attitude of entitlement has replaced the attitude of thankfulness for many Americans. Many talk about how they deserve their “fair share,” how they expect certain things and have a right to other benefits. Instead of focusing on God and showing appreciation, many now focus on themselves and their personal wants.
When people focus inwardly, they forget how to be thankful. As a child, I was taught to say “thank you” to those who do simple acts of kindness like holding a door open for me. I am amazed how many people today, especially the younger generation, will walk through a door held open for them and not acknowledge the act of kindness shown to them.
But if we as parents aren’t setting the example of showing thankfulness, how can we expect our children to be thankful? Parents are responsible for teaching their children how to be thankful and to express thankfulness to others.
The Bible foretold that people would become self-absorbed and unthankful. “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, … unthankful” (2 Timothy 3:2, emphasis added).
Perhaps this is why the Black Friday sales dominate the thoughts of many during the Thanksgiving season. It seems that many would rather focus on getting things for themselves than giving thanks to God.
Reason No. 2: We have forgotten God
When we forget to acknowledge God’s blessings, we will start to believe that the things we enjoy are solely a result of our efforts. This is a dangerous way of thinking.
Notice how God warned our ancestors about forgetting the source of our blessings:
“When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt … then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth’” (Deuteronomy 8:10-17).
Instead of feeling self-important, we should have the mind-set of King David, who told God, “Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18).
Always remembering God as the source of our blessings helps us stay humble and not take good things for granted.
Blessings being removed?
Unfortunately, when we look at America, we see a country that seems to be losing blessings. The nation faces multiple internal and external problems—and solutions seem nonexistent. Could it be that God is removing the blessings He has given the nation (Deuteronomy 28:15, 45)?
This is a natural consequence of a nation forgetting God: “Because My people have forgotten Me, … they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways” (Jeremiah 18:15).
But even though the United States and other nations may be unthankful, you can determine to make your life one of thankfulness to God for all the blessings He has given you and your family.
As the apostle Paul said, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
For further reading about the importance of regularly giving thanks, read “Should Every Day Be A Day of Thanksgiving?”