For the past several years the article, “Happy Humiliation Day,” has been reposted here at The Armoury in consideration of our national holiday: Thanksgiving Day. What is so compelling about our forefathers’ inauguration of Thanksgiving Day is the fact that it was all started with another day – a day of prayer and humiliation, as William Bradford recounts: “…they set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress…” If you have read the above article then you know that the settlers at Plymouth Plantation were enduring a great famine in the land such that many were suffering and dying from hunger and fatigue. In utter dependency upon the Lord, the people set aside a day of prayer and humiliation seeking the Lord’s provision of rain and a fruitful season, which the Lord supplied in abundance. In response to this, as Bradford recounts, “…they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.” What is so beautiful and haunting about this story is the word also. You see, their day of thanksgiving did not stand alone, but rested on the former day: the day of prayer and humiliation.
I would suggest to the reader that there is an ocean of truth supplied in such an example.
The subject of thankfulness is quite remarkable, especially when we consider the fact that fallen men do not “honor Him as God or give thanks…” (Romans 1:21). Paul’s important description of the pride, arrogance, and ingratitude of mankind reveals an important truth: the expression of genuine thankfulness to God is a miracle of divine grace and cannot be generated or feigned by the unbeliever, after all, without genuine humility there can be no genuine thankfulness. This principle which was understood and exemplified by our puritan forefathers is one that is desperately needed in our own day.
For myself, it helps me to remember that when my thankfulness to God shrinks in any measure, it is because of swelling pride. Yet, when humility waxes hot so does genuine thankfulness. The pairing of these attitudes is crucial for us all. As believers, we must remember these truths as we express thankfulness to God, whether it is a national holiday, or any other day of the year.
I would like to add one more note in view of what has been shared. Let us take time this day to pray earnestly for our nation and for its leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Those who reject Christ may celebrate Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday, but without the Redeemer’s redemption and forgiveness, they do so as the objects of His wrath (John 3:36). Amidst all of our political problems within our nation, we must never allow a disquieted spirit to rule our hearts, thereby quenching our petitions for those who merely feign thanksgiving without genuine hope and joy in Christ (Ephesians 2:12).
With humility and thanksgiving, let us cry out to Him who gives true hope and everlasting joy to everyone who comes to Him in faith.