The word “Thanksgiving” often conjures up images of Pilgrims, Native Americans, and plentiful feasts stretched as far as the eye can see. But Thanksgiving is also a time to stop and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Here are just a few reminders of the faith-based education behind Thanksgiving.
Remember that the original Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony embarked on their journey in pursuit of religious freedom. In addition to giving thanks for the bountiful provisions, early Thanksgiving celebrations were a time to rejoice and give thanks to God for providing the opportunity to worship freely. The colonists gave thanks for their blessings by inviting the Native Americans to partake in their feast and prayer for three days.
Thanksgiving and Praise to Our Beneficent Father
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed, at the request of Sarah Josepha Hale, that the last Thursday of November would be “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Although Abraham Lincoln was not the first, nor the last president to set an official date for Thanksgiving, his words capture the importance Americans placed on thanking God for the same blessings bestowed on the original colonists. Thanksgiving is a time for all of us to give thanks to the Lord for what we have, and to remind us that we always have positive things to be thankful for.
Making Thanksgiving Thankful
Today, we still have much to be thankful for. We live in a land that is free and full of opportunity, and we still have the choice to worship, free from persecution. Despite the challenges and difficulties we all face, we are truly blessed beyond measure, and are fortunate enough to be in a position to share our blessings with others. This Thanksgiving, before you begin your feast, take some time to give thanks for the blessings in your life.