This Thanksgiving take a moment to pause from the hectic pace of everyday life and think about the abundance, beauty, and blessings which God has showered upon America. Take a moment to quietly read the words of the first stanza of America the Beautiful, words written by Katherine Lee Bates.
O beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain
America, America, God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea
If there was any doubt that America’s blessings and abundance are gifts from God, one only needs to think of all that God has blessed America with, blessings not just on the east coast, the west coast, but in the words of Katherine Lee Bates, abundant gifts from sea to shining sea. Yes, blessings beyond imagination, blessings that are not because of something Americans have earned, but blessings which have been given to Americans from the hands and grace of an awesome God.
In the words of Ronald Reagan, “This year we can be especially thankful that real gratitude to God is inscribed, not in proclamations of government, but in the hearts of all our people who come from every race, culture and creed on the face of the Earth.” No, President Reagan, not just in your words, this year, but every year, every month, every week, and every day we can be thankful for every blessing showered upon Americans from an awesome God.
As family, friends, and strangers gather around the Thanksgiving table this year, or wherever Americans might gather, take a moment to pray this poem prayer written by an anonymous author, a poem prayer entitled Thanksgiving Observance.
Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.
Although most days Americans get up and take for granted the abundance of the blessings showered upon us by an awesome, loving God, on Thanksgiving Day, all Americans should pause for a moment to turn to God to both thank him and ask his forgiveness on behalf of all Americans, Americans who have turned their backs on him, Americans who have chosen to shake a defiant fist at him or, worse yet, Americans who have chosen to mock him.
As you pray a word of thanks, remember the words of Paul when he wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, for the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7 (NIV).
So, as I often do, I would invite each of you to join me on an imaginary journey, only this time instead of a journey to my imaginary mountaintop, this time join me on a video and vocal journey of America the Beautiful arranged by Frank La Rocca and sung by the Hillsdale College choir which begins and ends at . And after you have listened and watched America the Beautiful, pause for a quiet moment and pray a simple prayer of thanks to God for the blessings showered upon all Americans, Americans “who come from every race, culture and creed on the face of the Earth.”
Mark Wohlander, a former FBI agent, and federal prosecutor, practices law in Lexington, Kentucky.
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