This morning as I was padding around in my slippers trying to get organized for the day, I spied a treat in my back yard. I grabbed my camera and quietly opened the door to the back deck… but I did not go undetected. There they were… in a parade… nearly 30 of them… WILD TURKEYS! This is not uncommon in Connecticut, but it was a treat since we are so near the annual day of Thanksgiving and Praise!
Despite popular belief, Thanksgiving is not all about THE TURKEY or gorging yourself on rich, dense foods and cat-napping on the sofa during football games… although I am a huge fan of such gluttony and extravagance! Actually, based upon where our country is today in terms of moral decay and ‘tolerance’ of ALL religious beliefs it may be sorta fun to walk down memory lane and REMEMBER how Thanksgiving came to be and what it meant to our forefathers.
Correctly, we associate Thanksgiving with pilgrims. The pilgrims, who left England in 1620, celebrated their first 3-day feast in December of 1621. The celebration was a festival to honor God for His bountiful blessings after a very difficult journey, a hard winter with many deaths and a bumper crop during the year. Pilgrim Edward Winslow described the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving in these words:
Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling [bird hunting] so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as… served the company almost a week… Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and… their greatest King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD WE ARE… FAR FROM WANT.
Next flash forward to 1789… our country was young and was celebrating a new constitution. George Washington was asked by Congress and joint committee to Proclaim a day as a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER. This was America’s First Thanksgiving. Read it for yourself (Full text of the original Thanksgiving Day Proclamation). Don’t be surprised at its liberal reference to God and Blessings — especially in light of very difficult times.
In October of 1863, President Lincoln made a Thanksgiving Proclamation that set precedent for the Thanksgiving Holiday that we celebrate today… although he proclaimed it to be a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise. Read it (Full text of Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation). You can almost feel his pain as he reflects on the loss of life during the previous year as a result of the Battle of Gettysburg, yet he praises God for his mercy, blessings and bounty.
Would you like a contrasting view? Fast forward to 2009. Here you can read President Obama’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Wanna read more… here is a link to All Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations! They vary in content and meaning, but if you have a day… it would be an exercise, that when finished, would probably unveil the establishment of political correctness and tolerance… not so much a resolute commitment to God.
IF you are NOT into history, let me encourage you and yours to simply model the gratitude of our Founding Fathers. Make Thanksgiving 2010 a DAY OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING … give praise and thanksgiving to your creator, provider, sustainer and saviour in all circumstances. The men who founded our Country certainly did!
Here are some amazing scriptures to ponder during this time of reflection…
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. Psalm 95:1-6
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Psalm 145:7
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:11-13
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