Americans love Thanksgiving, and rightfully so. We live in a country that is particularly blessed. Even in the most difficult of times, through our character, way of life, democratic system, founding principles and reliance on the Almighty, America and its citizens always have more for which to be thankful than all other countries. Recent times and conditions may lead some to question how, why and what we are to be thankful for, but it's not the first time. From the time of our founding we have faced good times and bad, and even the good times weren't always appreciated in the contemporary context. But any reflective pause reveals that the fruitfulness of this country eventually bears a rejuvenation of purpose, worth, spirit and cause. Any set back we currently face has a purpose in His plan that we will refine ourselves into a better people and country — stronger, braver, more principled and purposeful, and filled with sturdier character.
In that spirit, here is a prayer, shared by U.S. Representative Randy Forbes, said on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1947 by Dr. Peter Marshall, that chamber's Chaplain, on November 26, 1947. It was a similar time, notes Rep. Forbes, of "national challenge and discord and the personal struggles that many Americans face this Thanksgiving, (that) the spirit of this prayer still resonates today."
Our Father in Heaven,
If ever we had a cause to offer unto Thee our fervent thanks, surely it is now, on the Eve of our Thanksgiving Day, when we, the people of this Nation, are comfortable, well fed, well clad, and blessed with good things beyond our deserving. May gratitude, the rarest of all virtues, be the spirit of our observance.
Let not feasting, football, and festivity end in forgetfulness of God. May the desperate need of the rest of the world, and our own glorious heritage, remind us of the God who led our Fathers every step of the way by which they advanced to the character of an independent nation.
May the faith and conviction of George Washington be renewed in us as we remember his words:
. . . there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exits in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained. ...
For if we do not have the grace to thank Thee for all that we have and enjoy, how can we have the effrontery to seek Thy further blessings? God, give us grateful hearts.
For Jesus' sake.
Thanksgiving is more than a precursor to a commercial season. It's a time to enjoy the fellowship of family and friends with food and fun, and to reflect and graciously thank God for the bounty that is America and His grace by which we are privileged to live here. No pressure to come up with the right gift. Just a time to enjoy each other and give thanks.
From the Board, staff and volunteers of The Family Foundation of Virginia, we offer all our sincerest wishes for a safe, fun and joyous Thanksgiving holiday.