Moore: Let's put thanks back in Thanksgiving

Editor’s note: John Moore is off this week. We are reprinting a column originally published in November 2015.

Most of us celebrate Thanksgiving without a second thought. That’s not how it was intended.

Contrary to what many say, America was founded on religious principles. Thanksgiving is proof of that.

Those who fled England to come here in the early 1600s did so for religious reasons. The first recognized Thanksgiving was a feast they shared with native Americans to honor the Creator.

Since 1863, by proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a federal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. Lincoln said it would be a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

I find it amusing that those who argue we should take religion out of everything never blink an eye when they take off work on Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you know of anyone who has a problem with those who believe in God but still insist on going to work on one of these holidays, I’d like to meet them and shake their hand for sticking to their beliefs.

Thanksgiving is unique. Its sole purpose is to say thank you to God.

It was not designated as a day of overeating and watching football. It was set aside as a day for all of us to stop what we’re doing, think about everything for which we should be grateful and tell Him thank you for it.

That’s it.

But, how many of us actually still do that?

Public prayer and praying aloud at home used to be common. Now, the former is almost nonexistent and the latter I see far less than I used to. I highly suspect our lack of prayer, and consequently our lack of appreciation for virtually everything, is one of the reasons our country is full of people who expect everything to be given to them and have no gratitude when it is.

Giving thanks does a simple thing. It makes us cognizant of what we have, and how so very lucky we are to have it.

Those born since World War II, my generation included, were blessed with so much, so quickly and so easily, that we have known very little want. Many of us may not have had everything we wanted, but we certainly have had most of what we needed. Very few of us have any idea what it is like to truly be in need.

Sadly, our overabundance of blessings has ironically led to a holiday that focuses on gluttony and the gridiron rather than God and gratitude.

We should be on our knees daily, not just on Thanksgiving. Prayer provides us a type of communication our smartphones never will: a direct connection to God.

So, this Thanksgiving, let’s put down our phones, turn off the TV, join hands, bow our heads and give thanks.

Because Lord knows we have a lot to be thankful for.

— John Moore is a Whitehouse resident. His column appears Friday. His book, “Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now,” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Today's Bible verse

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

— John 1:1-3

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