Secularized Americans are driven by no impulse to give thanks, and wouldn't know to whom thanks should be addressed.  They think of themselves as self-sufficient, self-directed, and self-reliant.  Their horizon of thankfulness is, to say the least, rather low. 

The civic holiday may not mean a great deal to many moderns--but that doesn't mean that it is meaningless.  At the very least, it implies that we cannot really take care of ourselves.  That is just as true today as it was in Pilgrim New England.

Christians understand that the call to thanksgiving is far more urgent than a holiday, and far more important than the calendar.  True thanksgiving cannot be limited to a day or a season.  We recognize that God has given us everything that we have--and everything that we need.  We acknowledge our unconditional dependence upon Him for every second of our lives, every morsel we will eat, and every joy we will ever experience.

Deserving nothing but God's wrath, we were granted forgiveness through the Son.  Needing all things, we have been given everything needful for our salvation and eternal life.   To these God has added joys, comforts, and provision beyond our imagination--"far more abundantly than all that we ask or think." [Ephesians 3:20]

So, gather together to give thanks to God.  While others celebrate "Turkey Day" and ponder poultry, direct your thoughts to the God of Heaven, by whose hand we have been brought near and given more than we can even remember. 

The Pilgrims knew to whom they were praying--and why.  Let's follow their example and remember that their dependence upon God was no greater than our own.


R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to Send feedback to

See also the most recent entries on Dr. Mohler's Blog.