Thanksgiving and Independence Day are my favorite holidays. They are completely American by design; and each asks us only to pause long enough to celebrate the best of things within our lives.
There is a religious significance to the founding of this country and for this holiday. And as with the country itself, the Thanksgiving holiday foundations did not happen by accident. And it seems that as with the history of this country, the religious element to Thanksgiving Day, like so many other politically incorrect things, seems to be on its way to becoming lost in the shuffle of irreverence and modern life. While not established as a religious holiday, and I’m thankful for that; it offers us some time to recall the goodness of God’s gifts, and particularly those we enjoy here and now. We should never allow that to escape from our thoughts.
Thanksgiving Day had it beginnings as a remembrance of the early struggles in building this country, from the first colonies onward. In particular it derives from the original day of celebration by the Plymouth Colony, who had first in escaping religious intolerance, survived ocean transit, harsh winters and sundry other difficulties. Over time, having established a sustainable society based upon free enterprise, and as they were able to survive the conditions; they officially stopped to offer prayers before God and to celebrate their good fortune.
Revisionists would have us believe that it had to do with arriving at peace and common interest with the natives; but that is not what they had to say.
Nathaniel Morton recorded this in part of the official record. “Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain them, no houses, much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succor; and for the season it was winter, and they know the winters of the country to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to unknown coasts.”
That’s plenty to be thankful for.
He went on to list the failures of the collective and the later success of the free ownership model of operation. He noted throughout that they were deeply religious folk who were first and foremost seeking to escape religious persecution.
On our parts, we should thank God every day for the good things we enjoy in the United States at His hand, and due to the work and perseverance of our forebears. We have no idea of the intolerance and persecution of those days, and we have suffered nothing akin to such things. Most have never had to wonder whether they or their loved ones would survive the night; or whether we might find sufficient food or water to sustain ourselves for another day. We are wealthy beyond comparison to most in the world today, and we should never lower ourselves to murmur as had Israel of old, regardless of any inconvenience before us. God has richly blessed us and abundantly so.
Instead we should be thankful — thankful for this country and its blessings through God, and for the blessings we enjoy everyday. And we should remember each day the call Paul made to the Philippians to: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Let us enjoy the day that God has given to us. And let us have a happy and prayerful Thanksgiving Holiday.