Definition: the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits of favors, especially to God; out of which came a special day to do this, thus Thanksgiving Day.
When was the first Thanksgiving Prayer in the Bible Thanksgiving Feast of Tabernacle; Succoth Leviticus 23
When was the first Thanksgiving Celebration in America? Early Thanksgiving custom in America observed by Pilgrims and Continental Congress. Thanksgiving Day is still observed in America today.
STATE OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE. IN COMMITTEE of SAFETY, EXETER, November 1, 1782. ORDERED, THAT the following Proclamation for a general THANKSGIVING on the twenty-eighth day of November instant, received from the honorable Continental Congress, be forthwith printed, and sent to the several worshipping Assemblies in this State, to whom it is recommended religiously to observe said day, and to abstain from all servile labour thereon. M. WEARE, President. By the United States in Congress assembled. PROCLAMATION. IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf: Therefore the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:—– Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness. Done in Congress, at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, in the year of our LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, and of our Sovereignty and Independence, the seventh. JOHN HANSON, President.
Charles Thomson, Secretary.
Origins of Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving didn’t start with the pilgrims. In ancient Bible days, there were feasts of Thanksgiving. The word thank appears 26 times; the word thanks appears 71 times, and the word thanksgiving appears 27 times (KJV). All of this tells us that thanksgiving is something good, and that we should do it often, not just on turkey day! And we don’t want to be like the Pharisees of old, with selfish thanksgiving prayers: Luke 18:11 KJV The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Friends, it’s Thanksgiving. At least tomorrow is. This morning, I sat reading a page of Frank Pavone’s “Pro-life Reflections for Every Day” and thanking God for each of you. I also read from a daily meditations book a young friend gave me for Christmas last year. These readings are great for introspection while we are also reflecting on God’s goodness in our lives. For instance, one writer says” My thankful list includes the joy, the pain and the suffering.” She is thanking God in all things!
Another reflection speaks of sharing in others’ successes without letting the worm of envy creep in. You know, that little vine spoiling fox that whispers in our ears: “Why can’t I be the one celebrated rather than my friend?” The writer suggests that as God’s perfect love guides our relationships, we can appreciate what He does for us as well as others, without envy. Wow!
Yet another writer speaks about the danger of “putting ME first”, even in thanksgiving to God! So, could that mean we that God first for just being God, before we even get to thanking God for our personal blessings? Like thanking God for the sun, the moon, for Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit for all God’s blessings to everyone, before we turn our thoughts to ourselves, to our needs and even our victories?
She writes: “There is never profit in serving ME, only grievous loss… You set your heart on getting something for ME, only to discover that once you get it, ME is not satisfied with it… Sooner or later, serving ME is proven to be nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 1:16)
So, this Thanksgiving, enjoy the pleasure of serving others, expecting God to bless you, basking in the glow of family and friends. Also, please remember those who may not have family or turkey, and pray that God will bless them too. Donate to a food bank or give gift to your local merchant, as they share with those in need. It’s even the “little” things like these that please God, in our love and ministry to the “least of these.”
One final note: A scripture meditation for the prolife movement…
In these passages in Ezekiel, the water is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We are the fishermen. The sanctuary can be our local places of worship, where we go for Bible lessons, fellowship, corporate prayer, etc., and then come out on the battlefield, fighting for life, in whatever way God uses us. He gives us unique gifts that we share with each other and the dying world.
The message in 1 Peter 2:12-17 may help us to remember to be gracious, even to those who do not share our views regarding life… People can be won to Jesus, and yes the Prolife Movement, by our humble expressions of truth and love… Note that Peter even says to honor the emperor, this could be even if the emperor is not of the same persuasion as the writer… Let’s pray that our good deeds, our love for God and all humanity, will draw people, and win them to the sanctity of life message… Happy Thanksgiving!
Ezekiel 47: 1-12
Water Flowing from the Temple
1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. 2 Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. 3 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. 4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. 5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. 9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
1 Peter 2: 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Submission to Authority
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.