I write this on Thanksgiving Day. My bride and I are alone in our apartment due to the coronavirus. But we are content since our lifestyle already resembles that of a “monk and nun” living a somewhat atypical monastic life. Even so, we see that Thanksgiving has changed over the years.
I happened upon an article about the old TV show “Father Knows Best.” During Thanksgiving week in 1954, NBC aired the show, which ends with the Anderson family praying before their meal. After the family gathers at the table, the father leads the family in prayer:
“Oh Lord, we give thee thanks from the depths of our humble hearts for all the blessings thou hast seen fit to bestow upon us. We thank thee for this food, which graces our table, the roof, which covers our head.
“We thank thee for the privilege of living as free men in a country which respects our freedom and our personal rights to worship and think and speak as we choose.
“We thank thee for making us a family, for giving us sincerity and understanding.
“But most of all, dear Lord, we thank thee for giving us the greatest gift a family may know – the gift of love for one another. Amen.”
I was 13 years old when that episode aired. It sure brings back a lot of memories of growing up in the 50’s. As I reflect on the evolution of my blogging, I am aware of being a voice of remembrance: “Stand at the crossroads and look: ask for the ancient paths…” (Jer. 6:16).
Having walked with the Lord for over 60 years, I pray my voice will bring a godly perspective. We desperately need “truth tellers” since much of the past is dismissed as irrelevant or too harmful to remember.
“Father Knows Best” highlights cultural changes our nation has experienced over the years. I am deeply grateful that I came to faith in the early 60’s and met my future bride in those early days. Jesus has been the center; Scripture has been our moral compass; and the Spirit of Christ has continually renewed us. Praise God the center holds and the foundation is secure.
What are some positive impressions from “Father Knows Best” that could to be integrated into life today? There are many. Here are a few, knowing that the cultural narrative of our day is often hostile to both the Bible and the idea of the traditional family.
First, and foremost is the spiritual leadership of the father. Traditional Christian thought sees the father’s role as spiritual initiator, pointing his family to God, to acknowledging God’s presence in everyday life. Men, start with being thankful and positive, giving your family a hope-filled future because of Jesus and his kingdom. Your role as father is critical: do your best to keep your family “heavenly minded.”
Second, we need to be thankful to be part of a nation that “respects our freedom and our personal rights to worship and think and speak as we choose.” Back in 1954 this was assumed. In the coming days, men will be called to advocate and stand for religious liberty. Expect to face strong opposition. Resolve to “stand.”
Finally, we can thank the Lord for “the gift of love for one another.” This is a gift God gives to each of us. Keep your spirit open to receive. Only then can we pass on the love of God. I know – I have cried out for mercy often to be able to love beyond my ability to do so.