Thanksgiving has come and gone, but what makes you thankful? Let us look at the history of this special day.
In September of 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers, so that they could freely practice their faith, or the promise of land ownership and prosperity in the New World. After their arduous journey of 66 days, the ship landed near the tip of Cape Cod, not their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, and the people known as Pilgrims started a village called Plymouth.
For us in America, Thanksgiving began in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared a feast in honor of the first harvest of the colonists. This date is acknowledged today as the first Thanksgiving celebrated in United States. It was not proclaimed a national holiday until 1863, when President Lincoln, during the Civil War, scheduled a day to be thankful as the final Thursday of each November. Other individual colonies and states had previously celebrated Thanksgiving for over two centuries on a different day.
Is it not interesting how this holiday began? Times of turmoil always seemed to initiate a change to be thankful.
After two centuries of Thanksgivings, the Civil War began a dark time of differences between the North and the South in America. At the height of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called upon all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” Thanksgiving was then scheduled by him for the final Thursday in the month of November, and it was to be celebrated on that day every year.
In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to move the date up one week in an attempt to cause growth in sales during the Great Depression. Then in 1941, President Roosevelt signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November again.
Today, Thanksgiving is still celebrated as a national holiday in America. There are many things to be thankful for, but are we? I know that it takes a time of leaning on God for me to see those things. Because of my humanity I have a limited sight of things around me, and tend to focus only on those things that affect my family and self. That makes me look at the most unselfish person to walk this earth. His name was Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3, NASB)
So many things are stated in those three little verses. Jesus was the Word come to flesh and He was in communion with God from the beginning. Creation came alive because of the relationship of the Father and Son. John had a reason for introducing Jesus that way. Somehow he wanted to show that Jesus was the divine Son of God, and more than just a human being.
I was created by them. They know me! That means being thankful for the trials and sufferings, as well as the victories. Our families need to see us be thankful for both times, especially our children, whatever age. This gives them a model to follow. If we have not been a good model, God can use our obedience now. It is never too late to follow Him. Love in action makes them want to know what is different about you and how you handle life circumstances. They are watching where your faith and trust lie.
Being thankful is not just during a holiday, but it should be an everyday occurrence. Our Lord is sovereign and He can handle anything. That is why we need to rely on Him.
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Do your children know that God can handle anything? We need to show and tell them.