For the last few years, I’ve noticed something happening with greater frequency. Thanksgiving has taken on a lesser position of importance in our nation. While visiting the big box stores it seems Thanksgiving has settled into an almost unnoticed place in the store advertising and displays.
Advertising for Halloween starts early. This year, I saw the first displays for Halloween appearing in August. I saw the first Christmas displays happening before Halloween, Thanksgiving gets a few random displays of turkey images, but if one wasn’t looking for it, the day would be an afterthought in comparison.
In Scripture, the attitude of thanksgiving is associated with worship, sacrifices, and lifestyles that honor God and give Him glory. Thanksgiving is what we express after seasons of sin when God redeems us or when we overcome the works of hell. It is the substance of the Psalms. Thanksgiving is directly related to the God of the Bible.
The opening lines of George Washington’s 1789 speech proclaiming a day of Thanksgiving were as follows, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits.” I haven’t seen that reference in the displays in the stores I visit. The text contained other words that acknowledged God, and humbly implored His favor. I pulled out some of those words from Washington’s speech to see how important this day was to him and how they honored the One to whom we owe our thanksgiving.
“A day of public thanksgiving and prayer.”
“Acknowledging with grateful hearts the many favors of Almighty God.”
“To the service of that great and glorious Being.”
“The beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
“Rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks.”
“The great Lord and Ruler of Nations.”
“Beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
I don’t see those kinds of words on the display cases at my local Walmart. We don’t see them because the day was about not just being thankful for the blessings of life alone. It is a day we set aside to thank and acknowledge the God who gave us such blessings. That may be the reason why the day passes by so quickly and undefined. It is a day to recognize the only One to whom our thanksgiving should be directed.