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NYC police chief’s grandkids to attend Thanksgiving parade

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014 - turkey float with two pilgrims atop it as seen from Bryant Park at the corner of West 41st Street and 6th Ave, New York City, November 27, 2014 (Credit: S Pakhrin via Flickr)

Around 3.5 million people are expected to fill the streets of New York City for today’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. An extra 1,300 counter-terrorism and crowd-control police officers are being deployed.

However, authorities state that there is no specific threat against the city. Police commissioner Bill Bratton is so convinced the parade will be peaceful that he is flying in his three- and five-year-old grandchildren from Los Angeles, and will watch the parade with them.

They are two of nearly forty-seven million people expected to travel this holiday season nationwide. We are proceeding with Thanksgiving despite global terrorism, a threat we readily acknowledge. According to a recent poll, eighty-one percent of Americans “think it is likely that there will be a terrorist attack in the U.S. in the near future that will cause large numbers of lives to be lost.” But U.S. Defense Secretary Jay Johnson is right: “Terrorists cannot prevail, if the people refuse to be terrorized.”

Eight centuries before Christ, another nation faced the threat of terrorism. In 2 Chronicles 20, a marauding army came against the country of Judah. How did Judah’s leader respond?

Wise King Jehoshaphat “was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord” (vs. 3-4). Then, as they prepared for battle, the king “appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever'” (v. 21).

What happened? “When they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another” (vs. 22-23).

When we face frightening times, our best response is to turn to God in worship. Praise draws us into his presence, where we find his omnipotent power and omniscient wisdom. There we discover “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And there we are home.

Cicero believed that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Shakespeare noted, “They do not love, that do not show their love.” And Thornton Wilder observed, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

Are you alive today?