As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving 2022, all the familiar things swirl around us. We plan what we’re going to eat—okay, some of the additional things we are going to eat, where we are going to eat, and with whom we are going to eat. We check what games are being played that day and over the weekend, where we can stream movies we like to watch at this time, and what the weather is going to be because many of us will be putting up decorations outside. We check for the latest Black Friday sales and compare them against the ongoing early Black Friday sales and the Cyber Monday sales. So many things and more for each of us in our own ways.

Whatever else those other things are, we need to put this at the top of the list: being thankful. It is the reason for the holiday, of course, beginning in October 1621 with the Pilgrims celebrating the first Thanksgiving. It remained with us through being colonies, the Revolutionary War, and into the founding of the United States with the very first Congress passing a resolution in late September 1789 asking President George Washington to recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving.

Resolved, that a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Day of thanksgiving Proclamation
First Congress
September 25, 1789

“Acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.” So powerful and moving are those words. All of the things I listed above come from the many and signal favors of Almighty God as do all the other blessings we enjoy in our individual lives. Naturally, many turn to God in prayerful thanks for His blessings whether in the grace we say before our meal, attending a special service, or just time alone in prayer on the day.

I believe that we also show being thankful in how we consider others less fortunate than we are. Charity is something to be practiced throughout the year, but Thanksgiving gives us collectively a boost in thinking about being charitable because we are in the mindset of being thankful, of sharing with others which is how it all began some 400 years ago. What a wonderful way for us, as we are acknowledging with our grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, that we also say to Him we are showing our thanks by doing unto the least of our brothers.