1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” NASU
Please forgive me but I am somewhat ignoring the entire context of this text to make a statement. In verse eighteen we read, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” In EVERYTHING….. Give THANKS…. This is identified as God’s will!
Most of us will refer to the Pilgrims as initiating the ‘Feast of Thanksgiving’ but according to much documentation in history they only did this the first year and did not systematically repeat it annually. However some of the more religious of the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving with ‘prayer and fasting’ not ‘feasting’. I am aware of seven other nations that have an annual and National Day of Thanksgiving – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, and Switzerland. I do not know the extent or festivities of each of those only that they have designated a particular day nationally. In 1777 when General Washington and the troops in incredibly horrible weather en route to Valley Forge stopped in an open filed to celebrate the 1st Thanksgiving of the new United States of America and in 1789 he declared November 26th as a national day of ‘Thanksgiving and Prayer.’ During the 1800’s the presidential Day of Thanksgiving ceased and in 1863 Abraham Lincoln resumed the practice. It was not until 1941 that FDR established the 4th Thursday in November as the National Thanksgiving Day and now Colleges and the NFL have made it the National Day of Football Tailgate Parties. (I say that tongue in cheek)
Although I am somewhat put off and have been for a long time with the commercialization of various holidays and believe that true ‘Thanksgiving’ should certainly not be relegated to one particular day but every day I still appreciate a National Day of Thanksgiving. In my formative years, it was a day in which the family gathered and enjoyed each other while feasting. I dare say we did not express enough thanks for what we had but I do believe that we recognized that without the hand of God we would not have had the bounty we had. Love was never lacking in our home and that made this time of the year especially rewarding for me and I very much miss the family gatherings that we had while Dad and Mother were alive. Our home in East Texas was a home of love and I treasure those memories. Today, with the incredibly busy schedules that most have and the fragmentation of families it becomes more and more difficult to establish a tradition and have unique family gathers as in days gone by. Yet, all of us can and should be THANKFUL for what we have for we could have much less even if we now have much less than we did in the not too distant past.
I am ‘thankful’ for my relationship with God. I am ‘thankful’ for my family. I am ‘thankful’ for my health although I am not absent of some medical and physical problems overall, to the best of my knowledge, I am healthy with the exception of my knee. My wife is battling cancer but we are THANKFUL for God’s Provisions! I am ‘thankful’ for friends. I am ‘thankful’ for my country and the freedoms that we have and enjoy yet today. In short, I AM THANKFUL and will express that to God today but choose not to limit my Giving of Thanks to Thanksgiving Day and know that you share my sentiment. If you are sick, wounded, lonely, or facing dire times economically I pray that God grant you a miracle and that His presence will grace your home or abode in a powerful way today enabling you to look above and beyond your difficulties to His Awesomeness.
God bless you as you celebrate this Day of Thanksgiving!