Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings

Family, food and football, the essence of American Thanksgiving.  The house is filled with the aroma of roasting turkey, fresh pie and homemade rolls, and the table, set with the best china, is laden with salads and vegetable dishes, a heaping dish of potatoes, the family's favorite stuffing, gravy, pickles and olives.  Have I forgotten anything?

We prepare for the meal for days, cleaning the house, checking the ads for the best prices on holiday items, polishing the silver, whatever is important for us to enjoy the perfect Thanksgiving.  Over dinner we join hands and offer a prayer of thanks to God for His blessings -- Aunt Susie's improved health, the birth of the newest baby, snow (or no snow), a day off work -- all things that are worth celebrating.  But I wonder, have we lost sight of the greater significance of the holiday?

The Pilgrims who suffered great loss in their journey and settlement in the New World, gathered to share a feast with the Wampanoag Indians after their first bountiful harvest.  Later the Puritans gathered for times of thanksgiving for God's care and provision.

By the mid 1800s many states celebrated Thanksgiving, but there was no unified date for the holiday.  Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor who was concerned for the nation that was moving toward Civil War, began a letter writing campaign to have a united Thanksgiving day in hopes of averting war.  Her campaign lasted forty years; finally, in 1863, President Lincoln designated the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving.

God has abundantly blessed our country.  Whether you are gathered at a family feast tomorrow or are alone with a turkey pot pie and the Hallmark Channel, spend a few moments to consider God's rich blessings, both to our country and to you, and, from a sincere heart, give Him the thanks due His name.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

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