If you haven’t realized that the holiday season is almost here I have a feeling that in the near future you will be abruptly astounded for next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day.
Sadly many of us think it is merely a day to have a day off from work.
Sadly it is a day when many feel compelled to visit with relatives they’ve ignored since last Christmas.
Sadly it is a day when many wives and mothers feel chained to the kitchen preparing huge feast for their unappreciative families.
Sadly many think it is merely a day to overeat with no thought to the poverty of others in the world.
Sadly many think it is merely a day to watch multiple parades and football games on our widescreen TVs in our home theater atmosphere complete with surround sound.
Sadly many think it is merely a day to rest so that they can begin a time of marathon proportioned shopping; some in the malls and some on the internet.
Sadly many need Thanksgiving Day as a reminder to be thankful for the blessings in our lives. However; all too many of us consider those blessings to be material objects. We look around our world and find satisfaction in our home, our vehicle, and our vast array of technological devises. Many have fallen prey to the bigger is better attitude of society.
A brief historical view of Thanksgiving in the United States of America: You are probably well aware of the first Thanksgiving and how the Pilgrims and the Indians go together and gave thanks for the bountiful harvest. That was in 1621. Thanksgiving was first celebrated nationally after a proclamation by George Washington in 1789. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. In 1941, Congress set the national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of every November.
Even though all of that historical information may seem to make the day legitimate in the minds of many, let us not forget that being thankful is part of our spiritual commitment to God for the blessing of his love for us.
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
We do not need to seek very far into the Holy Bible to find evidence of altars being built to thank God Almighty. The hymnals of our churches also provide us with numerous hymns of thanks and praise. “Now Thank We All Our God” with heart and hands and voices” will be sung by many of us this coming Sunday.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all of your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1
“The service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:12
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30
I pray that you and your family will take time this Thanksgiving to thank God for the blessings of your family, your church, and most of all for the salvation freely offered to you by our Gracious Lord.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4
The writer is the the chaplain at Ohio Living Dorothy Love and does pastoral care at Sidney First United Methodist Church.