With Thanksgiving Day coming tomorrow, I think we can all agree that there are many things to be thankful for. One may very well be thankful for their spouse, their jobs, their church, their friends, or whatever it may be. Thanksgiving is much more than football and turkey, or ham, if you like. Thanksgiving is about counting your blessings, remembering how fortunate we are in this country to have what we do.
Thanksgiving as we know it today was officially called for by President Abraham Lincoln, certainly for the tide of the Civil War changing in favor of the Union. But, a day of thanksgiving had been practiced in the United States long before 1863. Often, we think of the Thanksgiving at Plymouth, where we are shown images of Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans have a feast, celebrating the previous years’ harvest. Indeed, making it thorough the year was something to be thankful for, as many Pilgrims met their Maker through crop failures, disease, and harsh winters.
As we approach this Thanksgiving Day in 2019, I want to draw attention to something we ought to be thankful for, something that’s been rather neglected in the last several decades: the family. Family is vitally important to the stability of society, of children, of a happy marriage, and so on. To be sure, the divorce acts of the 1960s has done much damage to the family, allowing for, what was in effect, no-fault divorce. Marriages have suffered, children have suffered, and families have been irreparably damaged because of it.
Yet, this is not the case for all people. Everyone born into a monogamous, two parent, mother and father household tend to do well. Some science reports I have read in preparation for this article have shown that children raised under two-parent households tend to see a child’s well-being increase from 20- to 40 percent, compared to single-parent households. Indeed, two parents involved in the life of a child are vitally important for a child’s emotional and physical well-being. What’s more, I would also argue that a family with the presence of a mother and father make for a more well-rounded child, as a mother teaches a boy tenderness, and a father teaches a girl emotional stability, and vice versa. A married man and woman bearing children together is how it was intended to be from the beginning: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:27-28).”
The Bible teaches elsewhere what are the responsibilities of parents in raising children. Proverbs 22:6 teaches parents to “train up a child in the way he should go;” Paul says in Ephesians 6 to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord;” Proverbs 1 also teaches, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Countless references could be made to the importance of parenting children well, and the beautiful design of it given by God.
Children ought to be thankful for parents, as parents for their children. The Bible commends good parenting, as good parenting will lead a child to being a “delight to your heart” (Prov. 29:17). But, the purpose of raising children is not just to make them good citizens, but to raise them in a way pleasing to the Lord, living by example to teach them the things of God in the hopes they believe on Christ as their Savior for themselves.
With Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, I would like to encourage families to come together and pray, love, and worship Christ together. Count your blessings given to you by God, leave your quarrels at the door, and enjoy one another’s company. Thanksgiving Day is a day to be thankful!