Thanksgiving Day is a day so many of us look forward to. It’s a time to gather with family and friends to share a meal together.
Most Americans (and Canadians!) celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a meal that could feed a small army, then watch sports on television until the turkey coma kicks in. Often everyone on the couch ends up watching the game with their eyelids closed, then up for dessert! Who can resist the dessert?!
I often wonder and reflect this time of year that on a day called Thanksgiving, how many actually give thanks?
A little history lesson.
Most of us are familiar with what is documented as the first Thanksgiving celebration where the pilgrim survivors from the Mayflower voyage and Native Americans celebrated with a feast giving thanks to God for His provisions. However, fewer know that in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation. In it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude.
Abraham Lincoln was the president that scheduled the first official national Thanksgiving Day in 1863, entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” Thanksgiving started out as a celebration of blessings, giving thanks to God, and praying for peace and restoration to those in need.
After you have eaten and are full, praise God for the good land He has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. On a day marked as “Thanks-giving” we should all take a moment or two to give thanks to God for the blessings that he has given us. I personally thank God for the family and friends that I have. I thank Him for the health that He has blessed me with, even when I do things that jeopardize it. I thank Him for His forgiveness when I don’t deserve it, and I am thankful that we, here in America, have the freedom to practice our religious beliefs, the freedom to voice our opinions, and the freedom to vote for whom we choose.
This year, 2016, brought a Presidential election that rocked our nation and beyond. Friendships were broken, relationships strained and even family members turned on one another as each felt strongly about the candidate they wanted to be the next president. We should not forget to be thankful that we all have a right to vote for whomever we feel is best suited to the job and respect each other’s right to freely vote accordingly.
I Thessalonians 5:15-18 says “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to show gratitude to God and others and to return kindness. Allow the meaning of the season to begin to heal hurts and to look outside ourselves. There are others who may be suffering who could use a helping hand, an encouraging word, or simply a “thank you.”
This Thanksgiving, as we gather with our family and friends, let’s begin to put aside anger, hurt and grudges. Let’s ask God to once again “heal the wounds of the nation” as well as the wounds of our hearts. Let us give thanks for another day to start fresh, love stronger, be kinder and draw closer to Him.
Thank God from whom all blessings flow. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day!