Monday, November 25, 2019

Thankful In All Things

Thanksgiving Day, in the United States, is a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving was celebrated nationally in 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." As a federal and public holiday in the United States, Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. According to historic accounts, this feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans. It was first and foremost celebrated as a religious observance of the blessings of God upon the early settlers.

Although the colonist did not call the celebration Thanksgiving, it was the first corn harvest proved successful by the new colonists. After being plagued with sickness and death, there was definitely something to be thankful to God for. So, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag Chief Massasoit. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. The meal, most likely, did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations. Today, in the United States, Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday of the year.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance. Instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Although turkey has become all but synonymous with the holiday, it may or may not have been on the menu of this inaugural feast in 1621. According to the National Turkey Federation, today, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat some type of foul, whether roasted, baked or deep-fried, on Thanksgiving Day. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, a variety of vegetables and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is also a common Thanksgiving Day activity. Communities, especially churches, often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate. Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States.

Although these things may have some redeeming qualities, there are two main thing (although there are more than two) that have certainly twisted the observance of Thanksgiving Day in the USA. One has been working for decades to either downplay or eliminate altogether many of the traditions that have been a part of American history and culture for centuries, the National Education Association (the public school system). The other began Thanksgiving Day 2014. Unfortunately, since 2014, most department stores and retailers have permitted greed to erode this day of giving thanks to become a day of making a profit.

Although there has been a departure in the United States of the true meaning and reason for celebrating Thanksgiving, and although there may be some who disagree that Thanksgiving was a religious event, believers should never let any sector of society deprive us of celebrating Thanksgiving from its original roots, celebrating the wonderful works of God. The Apostle Paul tells us, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Believers are to maintain an attitude of gratitude. We should always remember what the Lord Jesus Christ did for humanity. The fact that He left the glory of heaven to take on the form of a man (Philippians 2:5-8), becoming sin with our sin and sick with our sicknesses (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10), should cause every believe to be extremely thankful and to greatly rejoice. To rejoice is a spontaneous, unsustainable feeling of jubilance; a feeling so strong that it finds expression in some external act, clapping, dancing, shouting. It means to be exceedingly joyful.

Even in our prayer time believers are to be thankful, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." (1 Timothy 2:1) So, during this festive holiday, let us truly offer the Lord the fruit of our lips from hearts of thanksgiving, how great and wonderful He is. Let us give Him thanks for the wonderful blessings that He has given and continues to give. May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fill you with thanksgiving everyday...

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