Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving devotion: Presidential Proclamations - 2 Corinthians 9:11

Today’s readings can be found at these links:

2 Corinthians 9:11     You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

For the last eight years, I have taught a special series of Sunday School classes during each Sunday in November called ‘The Faith of Our Presidents.’ I hope to finish the series in three years’ time, after having covered every President that the United States has ever had.

I usually start each class with an introduction about the life and times of the President chosen for that day. After a brief history lesson, the class looks at two important documents in the lives of each President: their Inaugural speeches and their annual Thanksgiving Proclamations. References to God are found in almost all of them, which surprised me at first, given the current emphasis on the Separation of Church and State in this country.

The Thanksgiving Proclamations are wonderful and normally full of hopes and visions, blessings and thanksgivings for the year in which they were written. If you've never read any of them, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can find all of them online at the following link:

Most of the Proclamations encourage the people of the United States to make some special time to be with God on Thanksgiving Day, and applaud Him for the divine blessings He has given to our land. Many of statements also emphasize what Paul was writing in his letter to the Corinthians long ago: that we should not only give thanks to God for our blessings, but also be generous with our resources so that more people can also thank God. It’s a beautiful thought and one that Christians everywhere, in the US and across the entire globe, should constantly be practicing.

Questions for personal reflection

Of what am I thankful to God? How have I shared my grateful blessing with others?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You are the Giver of all our blessings and the Receiver of all our praise. Without You, our lives would be empty, meaningless, and futile. With You, we have an abundance of Life for which we are truly thankful. Help us to positively and cheerfully share what we have received from You, in order that others may also thank and praise Your Name. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is something that I am truly thankful for. It’s the 2013 cover of the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s Christmas issue with one of my drawings on it. If you would like to view a larger version, then please click on the following link:

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