We Interrupt This Thanksgiving….
We interrupt this Thanksgiving to consider the opening portion of Ronald Reagan’s first official Thanksgiving Proclamation as president, in the midst of a recession, when things looked bleak:
America has much for which to be thankful. The unequaled freedom enjoyed by our citizens has provided a harvest of plenty to this nation throughout its history. In keeping with America’s heritage, one day each year is set aside for giving thanks to god for all of His blessings.
On this day of thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we recall the first thanksgiving, celebrated in the autumn of 1621. After surviving a bitter winter, the Pilgrims planted and harvested a bountiful crop. After the harvest they gathered their families together and joined in celebration and prayer with the native Americans who had taught them so much. Clearly our forefathers were thankful not only for the material well-being of their harvest but for this abundance of goodwill as well.
In this spirit, Thanksgiving has become a day when Americans extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. Long before there was a government welfare program, this spirit of voluntary giving was ingrained in the American character. Americans have always understand that, truly, one must give in order to receive. This should be a day of giving as well as a day of thanks.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in 1981, we should reflect on the full meaning of this day as we enjoy the fellowship that is so much a part of the holiday festivities. Searching our hearts, we should ask what we can do sass individuals to demonstrate our gratitude to God for all He has done. Such reflection can only add to the significance of this precious day of remembrance.
Please note the bolded portion. Also note that charity was a private affair, not something done at the confiscatory force of a government gun. Let us commit ourselves to giving not just thanks but alms of the right sort, through private initiative. And let us pray that government does not interfere with such good works by trampling the freedoms with which faith-based groups use their own initiative to provide aid according to the dictates of their own consciences.