In 1777 Congress adopted the Thanksgiving declaration from a draft by Samuel Adams. It is interesting to read the document and note the original design they had for of what they determined would make our country great. The start of the second paragraph of that document says:
"It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;"
The ruling body of the United States clearly thought that one of the things that would make our country great was for its people to do more than thank God but to "confess their Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor" and in prayer to ask "through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance:" In other words, one of the things that thanksgiving was for was to confess our sins and ask for Christ's forgiveness. In order to understand why they thought this was so important to the health of our country, you have to understand the effects the great revivals had on our nation at the time. The very things that lead our country trying to stop slavery, take care of orphans, and help people in need as well as help solve many other social problems, was the great revivals. Because people had confessed their sins and prayed for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, people's lives were radically changed by getting off their addictions to alcohol, caring for others, and wanting to stop slavery. It was Jesus Christ who gave back to the country its moral compass and care. The reason why the revivals brought such great change to our country is that the change happened from the inside out in people's lives. It was a life change through Jesus Christ, not a political or even economic revival but a turning of the nation back to following the principles of Jesus Christ. These leaders understood that life change through Jesus Christ is what makes people want to be fair to others and help people in need. That honesty and care makes politics, economics, and the nation's problems able to be solved through heart change. So this Thanksgiving I would ask you to listen to these wise words today. It was the two great revivals in our country that helped make us a caring and honest nation again. Why wouldn't a third revival of people truly following Jesus do the same. This Thanksgiving, take the time to do what the original writers and signers intended Thanksgiving and our nation to be. This Thanksgiving, take the time with family and friends to read this document and do the steps it recommends to receive the favor of God's blessings in our lives and country once again. It has worked in the past to help our country turn around; in fact it is the only platform with a proven track record and much more likely to succeed than any candidate, party, or plan that politicians can come up with. This Thanksgiving commit yourself to following Jesus in how you help people, do business, relate to your neighbors, and live life. Come join all the others that are trying to do the same.
May the Lord Bless you this Thanksgiving.
* Pastor Matt Winslow at First Baptist Spencer, across from the Hospital, services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays.