Thanksgiving seems more of a common tradition nowadays. We eat, we laugh, tell stories with our loved ones and share the importance of giving thanks for the blessings our Lord has done for us in the past year. These occurrences are rather commonplace now, and have to a great extent drifted into mindless routine, especially amongst Christians, without pondering the importance of why we should be giving thanks as believers, and secondly as American citizens. What is the most important thing that we can be thankful for?
As I’ve lived throughout my young years and witnessed the days come and pass, I’ve noticed a strange familiarity with giving thanks for things that are material and finite, and its become somewhat of an epidemic in today’s society. What of things that are eternal, such as liberty?
Have we become so calloused as a people that we as Christians and as children of America have neglected the very thing that identifies us as a people: That we have been freed?
I conjecture a simplistic theory of freedom from the Christian perspective. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ represented the freedom of the spirit from the bondage of perpetual sin and evil; an end to the chains that bound our souls to death. Now, because of Christ’s sacrifice, we have been given a new hope rested in the lasting peace of eternity. I strongly believe as a man of faith that America was the physical representation of the liberty the Lord Himself had given His people thousands of years ago by being based on the cardinal ethic that “All men are created equal”, which includes equality in freedom. As our everlasting freedom was written through the blood of Jesus Christ our champion, so America in all her beauty was written in the blood of the patriots fighting for the cause of liberty and keeping tyranny at bay.
I fear for this nation, however, as we continue to let the memory of liberty slip into the annals of legend, and the very essence of what makes us a “Shining City on a Hill” as a country and as a people becomes lost. For Christians, we have forgotten to be thankful for the liberty that gave us eternal life, and as Americans we have forgotten to be thankful for the liberty that gave us our sovereignty!
The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag celebrated the First Thanksgiving in 1621 as a symbolic act of gratitude to the Lord for His bounty in that Autumn’s harvest. What greater bounty yet then have we received and have taken part in than the perpetual freedom that has been established in Heaven for all eternity through the sacrifice of Christ; and the blessing He used to compound this by giving us a nation thousands of years later by which we are given the freedom to be thankful under physical law?
Should not our freedom be one of the primary if not central focuses of the Thanksgiving prayer? For I know, having been one who had nearly left the faith some years ago what it’s like to feel the chains of sin’s tyranny weigh on you like an anvil, and the grace our Lord gives when He takes them off you again and receives you back into His arms. I find no greater remembrance than that of the freedom my Lord found in His heart to give to me and the world, and how He paid an unspeakable price for it, just as those who would fight across the seas to defend our liberty as Americans on the shores of Normandy and the plains of Gettysburg paid the price of liberty with their very lives.
It is this reminder of the high cost that both liberty in the spiritual and physical realms entailed that should drive all of us to be thankful for it and give it its regard as our most precious treasure. As the Apostle Paul stated himself in the Book of Galatians,
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
We do ourselves no favors then by letting Tyranny travail once again into our homeland and into our hearts by first neglecting to continuously acknowledge Freedom, then by stepping on it by subjecting it to its enemies. In this we end up spitting on the memory of Christ’s sacrifice, and on the graves of every man and woman that gave their lives so we can be free.
True honor of the price of liberty comes at the behest of our honor of it, which I believe that as a nation we can accomplish this collectively when we gather in one accord on the Day of Thanks.
For me, Thanksgiving was never intended to be simply about a mass meal shared once a year; no I find greater importance for it. This year, I (though many will not) will give thanks for my liberty and to the Sovereign God who granted it and to the men and women who fought and died for it in on the field of battle. This is The Patriot’s Thanks, and in the tears of prayer do I raise my voice in acknowledgement that my freedom in Spirit and in Life have been guaranteed and can never be questioned! May God Bless our nation, and may God bless our never-ending freedom!
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” – John Adams