Summary: A sermon on thanking God...not just for all the "stuff" but for his interest in our lives.
One birthday this week...and it is my daughter’s. She turns three on Thanksgiving Day. So, Happy Birthday to Suzy. One other housekeeping piece of business to take care of is this Wednesday evening about 5:15 I fully intend to open the church for prayer until about 6:00. This isn’t a Thanksgiving service per se in that there won’t really be any singing or preaching...but it will be an opportunity for you to stop by if you want to and pray and offer up thanksgiving to God before Thanksgiving Day. Also, keep in the back of your mind our Christmas Eve service this year. I know that this is maybe not something that you normally have planned on but its a tradition I would like to start....coming together to remember the reason for Christmas season. Tentatively we have it planned for 5 pm on Christmas Eve...it will be a relatively short service...no preaching or anything...just some songs and some scripture...and perhaps a Mary and Joseph or something...it we have some kids who want to do it. So...go ahead and make your plans to be here with us then and let your friends and family know.
I’ve already kind of touched on it...but this Thursday, of course is Thanksgiving so today we are going to focus in on this holiday and try to give you a bit of a mindset to start this week and to enter the Thanksgiving holiday with. As Americans...I think it is fair to say that we tend to overdo things...isn’t it? We tend to buy houses that are way bigger than what we actually need....we tend to eat too much....ok...at least some of you do...I never do that. Just watch me this afternoon! So, I wanted to start out today with some of the signs that you have overdone Thanksgiving...and these are from a website called indiafunfactory.com:
You Know You Overdid Thanksgiving When....
Paramedics bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the EZ-Boy.
The "Gravy Boat" your wife set out was a real 12’ boat!
You receive a Sumo Wrestler application in your e-mail.
Friday you set off 3 earthquake seismographs on your morning jog.
Pricking your finger for cholesterol screening only yielded gravy.
A guest quotes a Biblical passage from "The Feeding of the 5000."
That rash on your stomach turns out to be steering wheel burn.
Representatives from the Butterball Hall of Fame called twice.
You consider gluttony your patriotic duty.
Your arms are too short to reach the keyboard & delete this.
So...as we go into Thanksgiving I think it is fair to say that many of us are destined to overdo things this Thursday...many of us will be miserable in the afternoon...and that is actually how I remember many of my Thanksgivings....as having eaten so much that I cannot move in the afternoon...the afternoon’s are really very sleepy on Thanksgiving Day aren’t they. But, you know what....I cannot remember a single solitary Thanksgiving in which I was to tired from giving thanks...that I had prayed so much that I was literally exhausted...unable or unwilling to move from my easy chair...and, when we consider with what we have been blessed with...that really is amazing isn’t it?
We’ll get to our scripture in just a moment...but first let me give you two brief stories: first, the history of this holiday that we call Thanksgiving. Oh, we all know about the pilgrims...Plymouth Rock...the Mayflower....and Squanto...but do we know how it came to be a national holiday. You all know that I am a scholar of history and I also know that many of you don’t care for it to much...but indulge me for just a moment as I tell you how we got to the point where every fourth Thursday in November became a day of thanks.
Christiananswers.net says that
Much of the credit for the adoption of a later ANNUAL national Thanksgiving Day may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. For thirty years, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, contacting President after President until President Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving. Over the next seventy-five years, Presidents followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day. Then, in 1941, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday.
Lincoln’s original 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation came - spiritually speaking - at a pivotal point in his life. During the first week of July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous "Gettsysburg Address." It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed his life to Christ. As he explained to a friend: