Summary: Scriptural reasons why we should have Thanksgiving
Why We Should Have Thanksgiving
Psalm 95:1-7 "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand [are] the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills [is] his also. The sea [is] his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry [land]. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."
Many in our country do not know that the primary and most widely celebrated family holiday in America is Thanksgiving Day. It is the day that everyone who is anyone would like to go back to his or her roots and spend the day enjoying a special traditional home cooked Thanksgiving meal with their family. No matter how far one roams from the land of his birth, this remains the case. As one with this heritage, I would like to share with you some facts about this special day and its origins.
In 1621 a little band of pilgrims, who had fled the religious persecution of an established church and sought religious freedom in a new world, paused in their struggle for survival to feast and give thanks to God for His blessings upon them. They feasted and gave thanks, in spite of the fact that the hardships involved in hewing a haven with their bare hands from the somber, granite hills of Plymouth, had already taken the heavy toll of half their number.
Their meal was sparse. It primarily consisted of such things as native turkey, maize, pumpkin and cranberries; food the native Indian tribes had shown them how to gather and prepare. It is said that when they sat down for that first Thanksgiving meal they found five kernels of corn on each plate. This served as a reminder of the hardships they had endured during the previous year when rations had been reduced to five kernels of corn for each person each day.
A little over 150 years later, in 1789, George Washington, the first President of the new nation, issued this national proclamation of Thanksgiving, "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 implore His protection and favor . . .etc.." Some seventy-five years later President Abraham Lincoln made and proclaimed the last Thursday of November a perpetual national Day of Thanksgiving. Even though the nation had just lost over a million of her sons in an awful and deadly civil war, the aftermath of which would soon take the President’s own life, there was still much for which to be thankful.
I am sure there were many, especially those who had lost life, limb and loved ones, who may have said, "But just what do we have to be thankful for?" That is understandable. But those who know the truth about the sinfulness of man and the greatness of God and his love, mercy and forgiveness will always have more than sufficient reason to praise and thank Him in every circumstance. "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thess. 5:16-18)