Each thanksgiving in America is celebrated with friends and family, feasts of good food, family communion, thankfulness for our gifts both merited or unmerited, care for those less fortunate than us, and an appreciation for our God and our great country. Thanksgiving is a holiday that many people look forward to and celebrate, but whatever happened to the counterpoint to thanksgiving, a day of humility, penitence, prayer, and fasting? While we do have a National Day of Prayer, within that day there is no call for penitence, forgiveness, or fasting, but just a general call for prayer and meditation.
Our Continental Congress from 1775 - 1782 (with the exception of 1777) declared a national day of humility, fasting, and prayer. John Adams as President declared in 1798 and 1799 the same sentiments. President James Madison in 1814 also proclaimed a national day of humility, fasting, and prayer. Finally, President Lincoln in 1861, 1863, and by title only in 1864, declared a national day of humility, fasting, and prayer. It has been nearly 150 years, and since then not a single President under any conditions, war or peace, good times or bad, has declared a day of humility, fasting, and prayer. A country and a people that no longer believes it has a need to humble itself, to fast, and to show appreciation to our Creator is a country of arrogance and mistaken pride.
To show how far we have fallen from grace, a call now for America to humble itself, and to fast, would be subjected to the most virulent calls for a separation of church and state, the inappropriateness of such a measure even being considered, health concerns that thousands of people would die (fasting can include water, juice, necessary medicine, or even small meals before sunrise or after sundown), and the general acknowledgment that America dips its flag, nor bows its head to any power, here or Above.
A country or a people that will not humble itself is a country and a people that are lost. Christ has many passages on humility throughout the New Testament, for instance, Matthew 23:12: "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." Nobody, nor any country remains on top forever. Life has its seasons, its cycles, and its stages. A people that are unable to humble themselves, to sacrifice themselves, not even for one day, is a people that have judge themselves to be above it all.
To think that one is always justified, and those that come from a different place, a different country, a different attitude, are not justified, is a dangerous ideology and a dangerous god to listen to. Humility, prayer, and fasting, are a true chance and an opportunity to submit ourselves to our Creator, in gratitude for His benevolent grace, His tender mercies, and His wonderful wisdom.
There is no higher calling than to serve our fellow man by helping the helpless, aiding the hurting, and by loving the unlovable. Man does not live by bread alone that is why we must occasionally fast to remind ourselves of that vital fact.