Happy Thanksgiving! Like so many others we want to express our gratitude to God for you and His many blessings. Like last Thanksgiving this has been been a year most of us have faced many challenges. This week three dear friends died.
In addition to writing messages for Thanksgiving I’ve been preparing funeral messages for these men. My work is made easier by the lives of faith these men lived. I am so grateful for God’s gift of grace to us in Christ.
Which brings me the point that God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son. “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” We are happier when we are giving than we are receiving.
During this Covid crisis I have witnessed the beauty, joy, and delight of so many giving. The caregivers, health care givers, first responders, our soldiers, volunteers from our church, community volunteers and especially by my wife. I have seen the joy in their eyes giving. It’s been just as wonderful to see the joy in the eyes of those receiving with gratitude. Let me encourage you to be a thoughtful and prayerful giver. With that in mind let me share with you a bit more about Thanksgiving.
The first American Thanksgiving in 1621 was celebrated by the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Despite all of the illness and deaths they gathered to give thanks to God for pulling them through. They were grateful for religious freedom and the other freedoms they enjoyed. There were more hard days ahead but their faith remained strong. Despite Covid 19 I have seen the faith of so many increase. Their love for God and faith in Him has been strengthened.
President Lincoln would issue a National Proclamation of Thanksgiving in 1863 during the War Between the States that ripped the nation apart. This is a portion of a paragraph of that proclamation in 1863. Today our nation needs our prayers and good work to heal from the wounds that have divided us for to long.
“I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”