Thanks for joining our turkey week Bible study. I begin with a quote from my deceased sister Andrea. Keeping her personality fresh in my memory, I can still hear her saying, “I love Thanksgiving because all you have to do is show up and eat.” (In last year’s Thanksgiving Bible study, Vol. 88, read how I “enhanced” my sister’s quote.)
But that opening paragraph is not a segue into how to consume the bird amidst family squabbles when your uncle refuses to remove his MAGA hat during the meal. God knows there is already too much written about that topic.
Instead, we ride the way-back machine to the Thanksgiving of 1942. (I digress to mention that a week earlier, on November 20, 1942, a baby boy was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. So today is a milestone birthday for this most senior political figure who lives in a house painted white.) Now back to our special holiday programming.
Eighty years ago, as Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, Allied victory in the Second World War was uncertain and three very tough years away. Therefore, as presidents routinely and unabashedly used to do during times of war and national crisis — President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned to Scripture, public prayer, and the holiday’s original purpose — giving thanks to God. Thus, in his Thanksgiving proclamation, not wasting a word, FDR’s opening sentence read:
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” (Psalm 92:1).
Nor will I waste any more words except to explain that posted below is FDR’s entire proclamation. He quotes the Bible’s most famous Psalm and reflects upon biblical themes that often appear in this study. Themes such as faith, trust in and dependence on God, reliance upon prayer, and reading His Word.
Respectfully deferring to FDR, my Bible study guest writer, I bow out early and wish all Townhall readers a healthy, happy “Thanksgiving to God” week.
By the President of the United States of America
November 26, 1942
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God.
The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the Nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.
In giving thanks for the greatest harvest in the history of our Nation, we who plant and reap can well resolve that in the year to come we will do all in our power to pass that milestone; for by our labors in the fields we can share some part of the sacrifice with our brothers and sons who wear the uniform of the United States.
It is fitting that we recall now the reverent words of George Washington, “Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy Protection,” and that every American in his own way lift his voice to heaven.
I recommend that all of us bear in mind this great Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
“He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Inspired with faith and courage by these words, let us turn again to the work that confronts us in this time of national emergency: in the armed services and the merchant marine; in factories and offices; on farms and in the mines; on highways, railways, and airways; in other places of public service to the Nation; and in our homes.
Now, Therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby invite the attention of the people to the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day; and I request that both Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1942, and New Year’s Day, January 1, 1943, be observed in prayer, publicly and privately.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. “Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. It will be published on Dec. 4 but now available for pre-sale.
Author’s Note: All previous volumes of this series are here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.” Now, “Part Two,” featuring volumes 57-113, will be published on Dec. 4 and available for pre-sale.
Cross-posted at Townhall and Substack.