Nov 2016

Thanksgiving Holiday: What’s it all about?

Posted by / in B4Blessing News, issues of the day / No comments yet

Thanksgiving is an American holiday AND a biblical concept.

But before we get to that . . .5  True or False questions for you:

1.  T or F:  The Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving in the new world?

2.  T or F:  From the beginning of the U.S. as a separate country, Thanksgiving was an ongoing national holiday?

3.  T or F:  The Turkey was the U.S. National Bird for a time?

4.  T or F:  The 4th Thursday of November was always the official Thanksgiving day?

5.  T or F:  Turkeys are very smart birds.

Answers at the end of this blog

When the Pilgrims came to the “New World” they found a land of promise and strangeness. How did one survive in this world? There were those (Native Americans) who knew how to plant crops, knew what kinds of things grew in this place, and how to survive in this new hostile environment. The new comers eventually learned how to plant corn and how to raise turkeys. How to not only survive, but thrive. They experienced God’s blessing after much hardship.

After a starvation winter, when they survived on just a few grains of corn, the Native Americans helped the newcomers plant crops. They became friends. At harvest time, they shared a meal and a three-day celebration of God’s goodness. That was in 1621.

From the time of the American Revolution when George Washington declared days of “thanksgiving” to today, America has celebrated and given thanks to God for His bounty. While it sometimes seems like just a day to eat turkey and watch football, our history is clear. We began our country’s life with times of Thanksgiving to God. Sometimes it feels more like “turkey day” than a Godly Thanksgiving, but the founding fathers made the holiday an expression of thanks to God for the bounty of America. It began as a time to express God’s grace across cultures.

Officially, Thanksgiving began in the United States in 1792 with George Washington setting aside days for thanksgiving to God. When you think about it the Thanksgiving holiday is really about one culture helping another and praising God we can work together. Reminds me of Revelation 7 and the scene in the Throne room of God with all the nations, tribes, people and languages standing before the throne and before the Lamb praising God. Now that’s Thanksgiving!

Whether or not you celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday, take some time to give thanks to God as Isaiah says: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” – Isaiah 12:4

Now the Answers to the T/F questions:

  1. False. Other settlements such as Jamestown also had days of thanksgiving.  It was a common practice to declare days set aside in thanksgiving to God.  Of course parts of the US are still fighting about who was first.
  2. False. George Washington DID declare a day of thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving day was done piecemeal and ad hoc until President Roosevelt and Congress got together on December 26, 1941 to declare the 4th Thursday of November the official Thanksgiving and a national holiday.  OK, so it only took them nearly 300 years to decide on a day, maybe decisions HAVE gotten faster in government.
  3. False. George Washington wanted to make the turkey the national bird, but thankfully cooler minds prevailed and the Bald Eagle was chosen. A question could be asked about the bald part and whether it had anything to do with the fact they wore wigs, but we won’t go there.
  4. False. There was a huge controversy between the 4th Thursday, the last Thursday and the 3rd Thursday.  When Roosevelt and Congress signed the bill into law as the 4th Thursday it moderated some hurt feelings because the 4th Thursday was often the last Thursday.  Ahhh, I guess EVERYTHING is important in Foggy Bottom, just like today.
  5. False. Turkeys are pretty dumb. In a rainstorm they will stand looking up at the rain (trying to figure out what rain is I guess) until they have so much rain in their noses they drown.

You can find a great article on Thanksgiving here. Take the time to read the proclamations of Thanksgiving by George Washington and others. It puts our Founding Fathers and early presidents into a perspective we don’t often see today.

Have a wonderful time this week of truly giving thanks to God for all of our blessings.

B4Blessing Staff

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