It’s been almost 400 years since the first Thanks Giving meal was recorded in this country in 1621. Even though it took many years to be a national holiday as we know it today, by the help of a lady named Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Hale pleaded for 30 some years to make it happen. She finally convinced president Lincoln back in 1863 to make it a national holiday.
With the stress of the Civil War they wanted a holiday that would bind us together, from the icy North to the sunny South, that we are one family in a great free nation.
Over those 400 years, we all lost loved ones from sickness and disease to battles and wars, but through the smoke, we find a reason to be thankful. We’re free; free to believe in God, our country, and our fellow man.
I was reading to my 6-year-old son in the book of Proverbs, chapter 8, and it talks about how God’s wisdom brings us substance, a right standing, and treasure. And my son asked what treasure was. He quickly answered himself and said, “Is it money?” I said ‘it can be, but the greatest treasure is to have love in your heart.’
I’m thankful for a country that the word of God is so freely given, through the sacrifice of many. Even still today there are some 30 to 50 countries where you can’t have a Holy Bible, or it’s very difficult to obtain one. Before being born again, treasure would have only meant money to me.
I’m thankful for God’s word that gives us the knowledge to know what real treasure is and the wisdom to apply it to our life. Yes, treasure is money but isn’t the reason we lay up stuff is to find approval and to take care of the ones we love? We work and give our time to gain a substance to bless the ones we are around. I’m thankful for the turkey the pumpkin pie and the way my wife looks into my eyes!
I’m grateful that we have the freedom to have Gods word to show us how to have right relationships, with God and others. I think of the pilgrims and how they came over in the Mayflower to flee persecution for serving God, and many had died through the harsh winter, but with the help of the Indians they had a good harvest that next year, and it is said they lived peaceably together for some 50 years.
I am thankful that God shows us that real treasure is not land, stuff or money. Love is something to treasure, and the word of God teaches us how to love where ever we are at, through the hardships and the harvest time. Jesus tells us to love so much more; to move forward to love the ones that hurt us, who have cursed us.
I’m sure there are some of you reading this that your family is broken and hurting in some area by things you can’t control. But I’m thankful that the word of God shows us the real treasure is love and when we sit down to eat our Thanksgiving dinner, whether it’s alone or in a hall where everyone is a stranger or maybe in a big family where one son or daughter or wife is gone. By being thankful in that moment perhaps it meant only to be a moment but in that Thanksgiving, will heal the heart.
The writer is a husband, father, preacher, writer, artist, musician and songwriter. Ben and his wife, Missy, reside with their three sons in St. Marys.