A day to give thanks and remember the blessings of God.
[Darris McNeely] It’s Thanksgiving 2014. Hard to believe another year has turned, we’re at what is for me my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. In fact, this year, I keep two Thanksgivings, because I was in Canada last month for their Thanksgiving and had turkey on that day. I’ll have some more turkey today, on Thanksgiving, this weekend.
When we think about this national holiday in America and other nations as well, it is a time to pause and to consider why it is even on the calendar, and never forget some of the most basic reasons. In the United States, our Thanksgiving holiday traces back to 1620, when the Mayflower and the pilgrims landed on the east coast of America. And that whole story began to develop around them, which is part fact, part myth, a lot of tradition – but it was a group of people, 41 of whom were what we call pilgrims. And of course they give rise to the traditional idea of people wearing kind of funny hats and odd clothing, but gathering to give thanks after a year or so of survival during that time. Forty-one people on that boat, the Mayflower, were pilgrims, and we must never forget that they were here, coming to this new world, to seek religious freedom. Essentially, they wanted to be able to worship God according to their conscience, and that’s why they came here and that is the part of that story that is part of Thanksgiving that we should never really ever take for granted. We have whatever abundance we have in our lands and in the United States, it’s huge. We are a blessed people. We should never give any thanks that is not truly heartfelt for what we have been given.
When you look at the first proclamation that Abraham Lincoln made during his presidency for his period of Thanksgiving, it has a note in there that I think helps us to kind of focus our mind. Abraham Lincoln wrote in November of 1863, “No human counsel has devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things” – speaking about America at that time, and what it had. He went on to say, “They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, has nevertheless remembered mercy.” Abraham Lincoln wrote those words about Thanksgiving in 1863. They apply today.
We should never underestimate, never forget, God’s mercy. Psalm 95 really begins to talk about this in the first few verses. It says, “Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; and the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land” (Psalms 95:1-5 Psalms 95:1-5 1 O come, let us sing to the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
American King James Version×).
Words like that should be in our heart, our mind, on a day of Thanksgiving. Enjoy yours.
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