Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 23rd, is Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside in this country for remembering the blessings we have received during the year. The first Thanksgiving observance dates to AD 1619, and was entirely religious in nature, without feasting. The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed annually as a day of thanksgiving to God.

The Thanksgiving Day we remember was held in AD 1621. The first winter for the colonists was so harsh, nearly half their number died. The following summer brought a good corn harvest, however, and Governor William Bradford arranged a harvest festival to give thanks to God for the progress the colony had made. The men of Plymouth had shot ducks, geese, and turkeys. The menu also included clams, eel and other fish, wild plums and leeks, cornbread, and watercress. The women of the settlement supervised cooking over outdoor fires. About 90 Indians also attended the festival. They brought five deer to add to the feast.

Today, Thanksgiving is usually a family day, celebrated with big dinners and times of reunion. The very mention of Thanksgiving conjures up memories of food and fellowship. Hopefully, though, we haven’t lost sight of what Thanksgiving is all about…“giving thanks.” In this country, even in the economic climate we are currently in, we are blessed with great material prosperity, far more than any other nation on earth. We should pause and reflect on these blessings, thanking God the Father, from whom these blessings come.

We should also remember the greatest blessing of all in Christ. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:8-9). Not only this, but God through Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3). Of all people, we are truly blessed, both physically and spiritually. Take some time to reflect on the riches we enjoy from a loving heavenly Father this week, and determine to make every day a day of “thanksgiving,” seen in the words we speak and the lives we live. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

μαράνα θᾶ (1 Cor. 16:22)


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