On October 3, 1789, in the City of New York, a proclamation was issued by our first president, George Washington. The purpose of this proclamation was to set aside a Thursday in November as a day of service to God, a day of thanksgiving and prayer that should be observed by “acknowledging with grateful hearts the many favors of Almighty God.” The proclamation began by pointing out that it is “the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits.”
As Americans, we still set apart that one Thursday in November to be a day on which we give thanks to God for all He has done for us individually and as a nation. As believers and children of God, every day of our lives should be set apart as a day of thanksgiving. Thankfulness should be a way of life for us, and our hearts should always be filled with gratitude for all that God has done for us. We should be thankful not only every day, but in all circumstances in which we find ourselves, good and bad, for this is the will of God for all of us (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is God’s will that, through His Son, Jesus Christ, we be a people with an attitude of gratitude.
There is so much that we should be thankful for. Every good gift and every perfect gift comes to us from our heavenly Father (James 1:17), from the food we eat to our very breath. For those things, we should be thankful. Scripture tells us that not only is God a good God, but the love He has for us, His steadfast, faithful love for us, will endure not just for a day, not for a week, a month, or a year, but forever. And for that, we should give Him thanks (1 Chronicle 16:34). And, of course, we should be thankful for His Son, Jesus Christ, whom God gave as a ransom for our sins so that, by believing in Him, we will not perish but will have eternal life (John 3:16). And that is something to be truly thankful for.