I am thankful for America.
I’m thankful that I was born in a country that was founded on good principles, and that has continued to pursue those ideals (however imperfectly and inconsistently at times). I’m thankful that I can speak freely, worship freely, and live freely in accordance with the founding documents. I’m thankful that I have the right of redress in the court system if I am facing injustice. I’m thankful that I can participate in elections to vote for those who would rule over me, and I can do so without hesitation or fear. I’m thankful that I have the (legal) right to declare that the current head of state is a dunderhead, or that the last one was, or that the one before that was, and I’m not going to be put in a re-education camp or pushed up against a blood-splattered wall. I’m thankful that I can own my own home, grow food in my own dirt, and raise my children the way God has directed me to without the state pushing in to contradict or overrule me.
Now, you may have read that paragraph and thought it naive, or childish, or hopelessly privileged. (I prefer the term “blessed.”) The fact is, I recognize that every one of those preceding statements can be argued, disputed, and exceptioned into oblivion. I’m not so simple-minded that I don’t recognize the limits of these blessings and the threats that they may be under. I also recognize that friends in certain parts of the country may feel more or less at liberty than I do, here in the best state in the union. (Why are the stars at night so big and bright here? Freedom, that’s why.)
But I’m still thankful that I’m a citizen of this country, and I’d rather live here than anywhere else in the world. No matter my deep concerns about my government’s decisions and leadership, my questions about how best to hold democratic elections, my anxieties about the erosion of basic rights recognized for generations in my homeland, or my heartbreak at the degradation and dissolution of a culture that is consistently embracing self-destruction rather than life–despite all of this, I cannot help but be hopeful that the idea of America, the symbol of America, and the future of America is worth standing up for.
I am an American, proudly, unashamedly, and thankfully. I have been blessed by God to live where I live, in the time that I live, so that I may proclaim His gospel and love His people to the best of my ability in this place and this time.
And while I know without hesitation that my primary citizenship is in another Kingdom and my loyalty is to another King, I am grateful to sojourn in this place as I make my way toward Zion. I don’t raise a flag in my church sanctuary, but you bet there’s one outside my house.
May God continue to bless and preserve this sin-scarred, beautiful, stubborn, and hopeful nation, and restrain her from her worst devices, so that His people may live in freedom and proclaim His goodness to the ends of the earth.