Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“It never seems to fail that when we thank God at the evening meal for every blessing we have experienced during that day…the list gets long while the food gets cold.” Unknown
“I think I would like to have chicken tenders,” my elder Granddaughter Hannah offered when her Mom asked what food dish she would like made especially for her for Thanksgiving dinner. When Hannah was reminded that we would be having the usual centerpiece fare of turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she changed her special request to mashed potatoes.
Our younger granddaughter Ellie Kate had already announced that she would like “those little beans”—interpretation: green peas. No change necessary.
Thanksgiving—that most distinctive of American holidays—is here again. A time where we pause to remember our roots and the trails blazed by all those who have gone before us from coast to coast and border to border in this great land. It’s a time to give thanks to all those upon whose shoulders we stand and look back with grateful hearts and forward with hope.
A time to pause, reflect and give thanks. A time of gratefulness and reflection upon the past, of embracing the blessings of the present, and the lifting of praises for the faithful guidance of God through all of the circumstances that have made up our lives. Thanksgiving is a time where the simple tends to become the magnificent…while all we thought to be important fades into the background. A time to remember America and our roots, and who we were as we began as a country, and who we need to be again—individually and as a nation.
From the annals of our country’s rich heritage this announcement by William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, made 380 years ago in 1623 has been preserved to help us remember who we are and where we came from…and is offered to help us rekindle the spark of gratitude in our lives…
“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundance of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and…He has protected us…has spared us…has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the daytime, on Thursday, November…29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three…to render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”
It took people with a deep faith in God to withstand the hardships of those early days as they began to carve out this great land and lay the roots of the heritage we enjoy today. The glory, power and significance of that first Thanksgiving is not because it came out of prosperity, but because it came out of adversity. And in that adversity our ancestors dared to thank God, not for what He would do for them in the future—but for what He had already done for them in the midst of all of their adversity. And even in the midst of our own adversity at times, dare we do the same—to thank God?
Thanksgiving should move us to an attitude of gratitude, like it moved those who have gone before us, for all the blessings from God we enjoy. It’s a time for holding close family and friends, of reflection upon those blessings of the past, the present and the overarching faithfulness of God. It’s a time where the simple things come into clearer focus—like “those little beans”, chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and the precious ones who asked for them—so that everything of lesser importance fades into insignificance. And perhaps most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to turn our heads upward, to look beyond this world and remember our beginnings, and with a true spirit of humility and an attitude of gratitude, remember the One from Whom all blessings flow.
On September 15, 1983 President Reagan continued the tradition of Presidents before him by issuing his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation when he said:
“Since the Pilgrims observed the initial Thanksgiving holiday…this occasion has served as a singular expression of the transcending spiritual values that played an instrumental part in the founding of our country.
One hundred and twenty years ago, in the midst of a great and terrible civil conflict, President Lincoln formally proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to remind those “insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God” of this Nation’s bounty and greatness…
The time has come once again to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, an occasion for Americans to express gratitude to their God and their country. In his remarks at Gettysburg, President Lincoln referred to ours as a Nation ‘under God.’…
We can unite in gratitude for our individual freedoms and individual faiths. We can be united in gratitude for our Nation’s gracious gifts of the Most High God.”
Indeed, there is much for which we should be thankful.
There is much to remember as we reflect on where we’ve been.
There is much we should claim for our lives as we look forward with hope.
The sake of our individual lives, the lives of the generations to follow, and the future of our great nation depends upon it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
In His Name—Scott