As president of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide
thanksgiving celebration in America, marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public
thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”
More than 200 years later, we still have much for which to be thankful. For example, we think of the efforts by so many to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with their friends and communities in 2013. We think of New York City (NY13) and the more than 4,000 persons who have come to accept Jesus in their hearts and have been baptized into Christ during the NY13 Revelation of Hope meetings in metro New York that have been ongoing since January 1, 2013.
We also thank God for the many metro New York evangelistic meetings that were conducted after many months of various outreach activities. These activities were sponsored by prayer ministries, community services, women’s ministries, education ministries, stewardship ministries, youth ministries, and health ministries.
We thank God for the many changed lives. We thank Him for the many stories of the way He stepped into the hearts of men and women, boys and girls through this citywide initiative, and led them to commit themselves to follow after Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
This apostate world is not only full of lost people who desperately need Jesus, but those who, under the influence of the arch-enemy the devil, will bend and twist the biblical truth of God until it denies Him of His creative power, His redemptive power, and His soon-coming kingdom power. We must urgently pray for the lost, even as we are thankful for the opportunity to rescue the perishing and care for the dying!
In times like these, it is well for us to stop and reflect and think about what is really important to us in life. It is imperative to consider just how precious and fragile life is, and to use wisely the time we are given with the special people in our lives. Many of us have lost dear friends and loved ones this year, and our country as a whole has suffered great losses too. Albeit, we need to express gratitude for the time they lived and the precious memories they left.
The gifts of family and friends are treasured riches in our lives. Those precious moments we hold close to our hearts and memories and special times that can never be replaced, neither by time nor all the wealth in the world.
During this very special season in America (the most highly honored of all), please remember our Adventist missionaries serving globally as well as our men and women in uniform serving our country in foreign lands, away from family and friends.
Thanksgiving is a time to pause for prayer and give thanks to God as we anticipate the journey for the future.
Donald G. King is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College, Inc., Board of Trustees.