I first posted this in 2011. I think it bears repeating today.
Today I thought I’d share some thoughts on the matter offered by other folks who are a bit more articulate than I. In the meantime, be thankful for who we are and where we are: whatever straits in which we find ourselves, we’re orders of magnitude better off than most everyone else in the world.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks — for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war — for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
-George Washington, 3 October 1789
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. … No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
-Abraham Lincoln, 3 October 1863
We are profoundly grateful for the blessings bestowed upon us: the preservation of our freedom, so dearly bought and so highly prized; our opportunities for human welfare and happiness, so limitless in their scope; our material prosperity, so far surpassing that of earlier years; and our private spiritual blessings, so deeply cherished by all. For these we offer fervent thanks to God.
-Harry S Truman, 22 November 1950
Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow.
-Ronald W Reagan, 27 November 1986
This Thanksgiving, as we enjoy the company of family and friends, let us gratefully turn our hearts to God, the loving Source of all Life and Liberty. Let us seek His forgiveness for our shortcomings and transgressions and renew our determination to remain a people worthy of His continued favor and protection. Acknowledging our dependence on the Almighty, obeying His Commandments, and reaching out to help those who do not share fully in this Nation’s bounty is the most heartfelt and meaningful answer we can give to the timeless appeal of the Psalmist: ‘O give thanks to the Lord for He is good: for his steadfast love endures forever.’
-George H W Bush, 14 November 1990
And then enjoy yourselves; have plain, raw fun. That’s not just allowed, it’s a Good in its own right.