Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Ivory Cubicle | Thanking God for Our Nation

It's Thanksgiving, a day in which most Americans take to watching the Macy's day parade, stuffing turkeys full of stuffing, stuffing themselves full of turkey and generally having warm fuzzy abstract feelings of “thankfulness” to some general notion of a deity. We as Christians tend to be pretty good about taking the time to focus on specific ways that God has blessed us, either through our family, friends, a roof over our heads or food on the table.

I think that sometimes, however, the political issues get pushed to the side, or at least glossed over in the generic “thank you for our nation's leaders” clause of a 5-minute long prayer list. This year, I think there's a particular temptation to move past the subject, considering the large conservative setback earlier this month.

For our previous presidents, however, Thanksgiving was a time dedicated to offering thanks to God for the stable political structures of our nation. George Washington, in his 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation (before Thanksgiving had been established as an annual holiday), declared that the purpose of the day was:
That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
Fast forward a couple hundred years. Our nation's been through a lot, but those same structures have stood. They've served us through a civil war, two world wars, severe economic depressions, and times of domestic instability. We're still a part of a democratic process that routinely transfers powers smoothly, not with the faction and violence that you see in countries such as the Ivory Coast.

Our nation suffered a setback this year, but God has continued to bless us with stable representative political structures. So this Thanksgiving, I'd encourage you to thank God for our Constitution and federal government, for the fact that the people are able to be represented in our government, for a peaceful election process this year, and for God's providence in selecting a leader for our nation this month.

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