In the USA we celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday this week. An Act of Congress in 1941 established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. It is an interesting read for anyone interested in history to search for the origins and traditions of “Thanksgiving.” “Days of thanksgiving and prayer” is a generic description of events celebrated around the world at various times of the year.
Tradition and history say that in the USA our first Thanksgiving was in the fall of 1621 when the Pilgrims who had landed at Plymouth were celebrating the season’s successful harvest after the previous winter’s hardships. Corn, courtesy of the local Indians, was a big portion of their crop. Turkey may not have been on the menu unless it was a wild bird but undoubtedly there was some type of fowl in addition to deer and probably eel, which the local Indians had taught them how to catch and prepare. Traditional sweet desserts were probably not on the menu since they didn’t have the abundance of sugar we take for granted today.
Thanksgiving! What a wonderful time to gather together with family and friends to celebrate good food and family traditions such as parade watching and sports games (mostly football in the USA). And there’s always the traditional nap after consuming too much turkey. Do you have a family member who can be counted on to start the “let’s go around the room and tell what we are thankful for” process? Maybe it is you or perhaps an older aunt, uncle, grandfather or grandmother who starts. Some at each gathering resist at first. Others are eager to be first!
So, what are you thankful for this season? Don’t think you have anything to be thankful for? Those Pilgrims had left England on a small ship for a new uncharted land so that they could worship God as they wished and to seek their fortunes in the new land. Over half of them perished in that first winter. The survivors were thankful to be alive! As dire as your circumstances may seem, you are alive and have opportunity.
Personally, I am grateful that this event-filled year is drawing to an end. I made it seventy-one years without breaking a bone and my prayer is that I never again experience the pain level associated with that occurrence this past year. I will live out my life with the plate and screws used to put my ankle back together. I am thankful that I fell backwards on the stairs and rode that ankle down instead of pitching forward which might have been the end of my life. Yes, I have much for which to be thankful. The hand of the Lord in all events related to the sale of the house (with stairs) and finding the “perfect” house (all on one level) for us is another thing for which to be thankful. Also, I give thanks for the family and many friends who helped us get packed and moved in the midst of my recovery time. My special thanks to the Lord for our friends who opened their home to us during the time we were in transition waiting on the remodeling to be finished on the “older” new home.
As a covenant keeper, what can you be thankful for at this holiday? Be thankful that you serve a Covenant Keeping God! No matter your present circumstances the Lord knows you, your needs, and the desires of your heart. We can’t know His timing on the answers to our prayers – but we know He hears those prayers!
In Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) we hear, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Those same two verses translated in The Message read, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”