What is the history of Thanksgiving Day? In December of 1620, a small group of colonists from England landed near Plymouth, Massachusetts, and built a settlement there. The first winter was filled with storms, deprivations, and disease, which took nearly half the colonists’ lives. However, hope was renewed the next year when the harvest proved to be bountiful.
Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13 of that year be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer, a day to give special thanks to God for His provision. Mindful of the help they had received with their crops from those who occupied this part of the New World before them, the people of Plymouth Colony sent invitations to these neighbors to celebrate with them. More than 80 Indians came to the feast, bringing wild turkeys and venison with them. This custom of setting aside a day for thanks spread to the other colonies, and eventually became a national custom when Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November in 1863 “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” It became official in 1941 when Congress made “Thanksgiving Day” an official holiday. * All was well.
In the present, though, it seems that everything on Thanksgiving Day has some problems; the turkey is just a little dry, the gravy is just a little runny, and the family is bickering just a little? Those of us with family and good food seem to have so many problems, but the man with no food has only one problem, hunger, and the woman with no family has only one problem, loneliness, the hunger of the soul. I ask – the Messiah asks, to daily give to those in need.
Give your old coats, some food, and some money to those who need it so desperately. Do this every day, even when Thanksgiving Day is over, because a true Thanksgiving lifestyle is never over. As Christians, we have plenty to be thankful for, such as salvation from slavery to sin that results in a punishment of death, the ability to speak with God in prayer, God?s abundant grace, love, joy, and happiness. We can’t earn any of this; it’s our Father’s gift. Considering this, when giving to those who need, whether it is your son or a homeless man, give with Christ’s love. I would urge each and every one of you to go through your closet and see what you no longer need, such as a jacket that no longer fits, a pair of shoes, or any article of clothing to give to the poor. However, as Christians, we are to be spreaders of the Message as well, so put a small pocket Bible or Jesus Freaks book inside with some money too. A jacket can warm the body, some money can fill the stomach, and the Word of God can heal the soul.
There is not an angel in heaven that is allowed to perform what God wants you to do. So, be a cheerful giver and let there be much thanksgiving! “I will praise God?s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)
© Trent Brandt (firstname.lastname@example.org) Julesburg, Colorado USA
*Information from The World Book Encyclopedia, 1956 edition.
From our archives 11/21/2012
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