I am reading a biography on Sam Adams (the patriot, not the beer), and I must say, the man’s stature is increasing immensely in my eyes. There is much to admire and be inspired by the lesser known of the two Adams cousins who helped found the country.

samuel-adams1Just after receiving the news of the victory at Saratoga in November 1778, Congress, meeting in York, PA, adopted a proclamation written by Sam Adams that declared that Thursday December 18 was to be a day of “solemn thanksgiving to God” for His blessings upon us—not just for the victory, but for the many ample blessings of God upon the whole of society.

It read in part:

“With one heart and 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 of kind 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;

that it may please him graciously to afford his blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public councils of the whole;

to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the Providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings: independence and peace;

that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield its increase;

to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consists in righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Ghost.”

You just don’t hear strident declarations of wholehearted devotion to the Lord like that anymore from public or governmental officials.

What is Thanksgiving if not a moment to reflect upon our utter dependence on God for every good thing? But it goes a step further, for it allows us to express gratitude for the generous and providential attitude with which God deals with us – lavishing upon us what we don’t deserve, while mercifully shielding us from that which we do deserve but would extinguish us in the process.

As I get older, I am driven more and more by the simple reality that God is always approaching me in gracious and generous love, supplying all my needs, caring for those whom I love deeply but am incapable of orchestrating events for, and allowing me to be thrilled with simple joys that magnify the beauty of life, while living in a country which I love.

I have much to be thankful for this season. May you be also. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.