As we enjoy this season of thanks, let’s take some time to give thanks to God during each of the days leading up to the holiday and, of course, on that day. Welcome to Day 8:
“Never stop giving thanks,” Ephesians 1:16
Our church has a fun a tradition. The night before Thanksgiving, we have a special Thanksgiving Service. It is family oriented—everyone sits around tables in our gym and sings songs of Thanksgiving, shares testimonies of gratitude and shares in the Lord’s Supper.
We are truly a thankful people, but the highlight of the night may just be what follows the service—the pie fellowship or what my husband affectionately calls “pie night.” Folks bring their favorite pies to share and everyone eats a slice or two and enjoys the time of fellowship.
It makes me wonder sometimes, though, how often our focus on or around Thanksgiving is not on actually giving thanks. Football, food, the perfect meal, and, yes, of course that delicious pie. All of those things are quintessential elements to this Holiday, but if they take the focus, then we really are missing the point.
On October 20, 1864, as the War Between the States raged on, President Lincoln made a Proclamation* to set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving to our God.
“I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”
A national holiday was created simply to give thanks and praise to God and we shouldn’t let anything take our focus from that. He is still and will always be, “Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” Simply because of that He deserves our thanks and that is big enough to draw our focus on that day and all days!
Dear Jesus, we so enjoy the fun and festivities that surround each holiday and Thanksgiving is no different, but please let our minds truly be focused on You and our hearts be filled with gratitude on that day and every day. May I always thank you, on Thanksgiving and every day. Amen.
Here is the whole Ten Days of Thanksgiving Series, if you missed any or you want to take a look ahead:
*You can read the whole Proclamation here: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=69998