“Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He Who made us, and not we ourselves…Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100
Intellectually, we can easily and readily accept that God made us, and not “we ourselves” and yet as soon as we flex our “as-of-self” it becomes all too easy to unwittingly develop a swagger - “I did that...,” “if it wasn’t for me _____ wouldn’t have happened…” This is why humility has such an important role to play in our spiritual development and maturity. It’s virtually impossible to have gratitude in our hearts when bravado and self-importance are competing for space.
In the United States, we use Thanksgiving Day to thank the Lord for family, friends, and our country. Our heritage as a nation of free men and women is founded upon the lives and self-sacrifice and love of our forbearers. There is a strong historical context for this day. On March 30, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, a presidential proclamation was made that this country set apart a day to “confess our national sins, and pray for clemency and forgiveness.” In that proclamation President Lincoln said “we have forgotten God” and “intoxicated by unbroken success, have become too self-sufficient… too proud to pray to the God that made us.” These words are as true today as they were then.
Let this Thanksgiving Day be one in which we are not too proud to thank the Lord for breathing life into us, for giving us the ability to “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The Hebrew word for thanksgiving, “todah,” carries the meaning of “confession,” a confession before God that it is He Who made us, and not we ourselves. Let this Thanksgiving be one of quiet confession - a humble confession that our happiness, our joy, our sense of purpose and direction, our “success,” is only possible because God is.