"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God ..."
— (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
This column is dedicated in remembrance of a holiday that encourages us to take a step back in order to gain clarity and perspective when giving thanks for all the blessings we have come to adore.
In what might seem like a time of such frivolous peril, America has a plethora of great accomplishments to be thankful for. We are thankful that in lieu of devastating economic uncertainty, loss of faith in affordable care, and what has matured into a series of mass shootings and terror throughout 2013, we are perhaps stronger as a nation now than ever.
Despite all the negative images we read about America abroad, we're still the envy of the world, with some of the finest colleges in the world, the best doctors and hospitals, and political traditions of freedom of speech and choice which are second to none on the planet. We should also be thankful for those families who have endured challenging marriages, but found the will to endure to raise their children in a two-parent household.
Just recently, we celebrated Veterans Day by honoring the soldiers who have answered the call to service and who have ever so bravely fought to protect our freedom; the dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, celebrating all of his achievements; and our economy, which remains strong and continues to grow. The list goes on.
We cannot control what talents we have, but we can recognize and nurture them in others and ourselves. We all have something we can do well, but we were not all meant to be successful business owners, great athletes, artists or inventors. But by developing our own particular talents to the maximum, we can find success and happiness even without fame and fortune.
We all have met people who were born on third base and think they hit a triple, the old "silver spoon" syndrome. The wealth of their family gives them opportunities most can only dream of. But regardless of what it is that we are afforded, we as Americans must capitalize on every opportunity presented to us. By doing so, we find the ability within ourselves to finally build and promote genuine American entrepreneurship.
Let's remember that it was Sarah Josepha Hale's efforts that eventually led to the holiday we now celebrate as Thanksgiving. After a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents through her Boston Ladies' Magazine, Hale's passion became a reality when President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving in 1863. As Lincoln so aptly stated, "The year that is drawing towards 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."
This Thanksgiving, when we sit down to the table with our family and friends, we need to praise God. This is what Thanksgiving should be about. We need to give thanks to the Lord for our accomplishments as a nation. We need to remember that his love endures forever, as the Psalms remind us. We should find inspiration in his love, and do well in return. That means letting go of some of our vain and egocentric concerns. It means placing a little less faith in the acquisition of material goods, and giving thanks for the truly beautiful things in life, such as charity, civility and family. We need to develop a prayer life in the home and teach our young people about the value of prayers. For this, we should forever give thanks, not just for one day in November, but every day that is given to us.
• Armstrong Williams is the author of the book "Reawakening Virtues." Join him from 4 to 5 a.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. daily on Sirius/XM Power 128. Become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.