THIS WEEK: Five Reasons to Give Thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
The history of this day travels back to the 1600s and the celebration of the Pilgrims after a harsh trip to the new world and a challenging winter that claimed the lives of many of the original group. Finally after a harvest was brought in, they paused to give thanks for the providence of God and the blessings he had provided.
Fast forward over 100 years to October 3, 1789 and a national day of Thanksgiving was declared by our first president, George Washington. Here’s what he wrote:
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. Go: Washington
As an American, I am grateful our country still believes it’s important to have a day of Thanksgiving. I pray it is not simply a “thanks for not having to go to work today,” but a genuine day of thanks as our first president encouraged. I also pray that we as a nation seek pardon for our transgressions. Give thanks for ALL the blessings God has given and pray for the favor of the Lord to remain on our land.
As a Christian, I also pause to reflect on all the reasons God has given me to give thanks, not just today, but each and every day. Perhaps a few verses from Colossians 3:15-17 help:
Colossians 3:15-17 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
For what do we have to give thanks? And what enables us to live today and every day “giving thanks to God the Father”? Here are three reasons:
- We have been given the Peace of Christ to rule in our hearts…no matter the external circumstances.
- We have been given the Word of Christ to dwell in our souls…to speak wisdom and guidance to faith and life.
- We have been given the Name of Christ to identify us as a child of God and give us a reason to do everything with gratitude and thanksgiving.
Enjoy your day…given thanks today and always!
Prayer: O give thanks to the LORD for he his good, his mercy endures forever. AMEN!