The following is adapted from a column first posted November 19, 2010, and written by the late Bill Skelton, past Chairman of the NRB Board and CEO of Love Worth Finding Ministries:
It could be said that the first celebrants of Thanksgiving, in reality, had little to be thankful for. Yet they gave thanks.
Most of the original group of Pilgrims died from disease and starvation while searching for religious freedom in the New World. They were homesick for loved ones left behind, and grieved that they were forced to leave their homeland because of religious persecution. They had completed a dangerous and miserable trip across the Atlantic Ocean. They risked everything to come to a place that was cold and, in many ways, unwelcoming. Yet they gave thanks.
And then, 200 years later, President Lincoln said this as he proclaimed Thanksgiving a National Holiday in the midst of the Civil War … another time of great suffering and hardship:
“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, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. 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.”
The country was ripping itself apart while brother fought brother, literally as well as figuratively. Yet they gave thanks.
Reflecting on this Thanksgiving causes me to wonder if Americans are willing to endure real hardship and persecution and STILL give thanks. Are we willing to “plow on” to preserve and protect the precious freedoms endowed by our Creator? Have we become too soft and self-indulgent to even know what hardship and persecution really are? How precious is freedom?
I wonder why the historical revisionists and radical secularists have seemingly left Thanksgiving alone. It has in many ways stayed pure and focused on giving thanks. I wonder now if they have just decided to begin to ignore it by going from a pagan Halloween on to a secular Christmas.
Christian broadcasters, once again, we possess a powerful tool. We can still acknowledge God and worship freely. We can still and must preserve the airwaves for the Gospel. Please stay vigilant. Don’t be distracted. Our mission is clear: the proclamation of the Truth of a gracious and patient God who deserves more than our thanks. He deserves our all.
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (II Corinthians 2:14)
Published: November 15, 2012