by Eric Dunbar
On Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans will celebrate with their families and friends with a feast of their favorite traditional foods such as turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, potato salad, candied yams, gumbo, pumpkin and sweet potato pie.
Origin of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving, originally a Christian day of celebration, was originated by America’s first settlers that dates back to the seventeenth-century.
After surviving an extremely harsh winter in New England, the Pilgrims declared a three-day feast, starting on December 13, 1621 to thank God and their Indian friends, whom without, they would never have survived. While this was not the first Thanksgiving in America, it was America’s first Thanksgiving Festival.
In 1789, America celebrated its first Day of Thanksgiving to God under the newly proclaimed constitution. But it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving, and in 1941, that Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday.
A friend once said to me, “I’m so thankful for so much, I can’t tell it all!” Then he asked, “What are you thankful for?” I didn’t hesitate to answer. Like him, I can’t tell of all the things that I am thankful for, for they are too numerous to mention. But I can say that I am thankful that God is faithful even when I am not. I am thankful that when I needed God the most, He stayed with me. God restored everything that I lost to crack cocaine, everything I lost to Hurricane Katrina, and everything that I lost to all the people that used me for their own personal gain. But most of all, I can say that I am thankful for the peace of God. There is nothing like possessing God’s peace. When you know you should be worried about a certain situation, but you’re not, and you don’t know why, it’s all because of the peace of God.
We are living in a time when being politically correct is popular. People find it unpopular to thank God, thereby they convince themselves that they are responsible for their own provision. You see, we take so many things for granted. For example, we take food for granted, until we don’t have any. We take health for granted until our health begins to fail. We take a warm house or apartment for granted, until we find ourselves on the street.
Even when we take God for granted, He still loves us and He doesn’t treat us like we deserve to be treated. The problem today is that people do not see themselves as sinners, but the bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
I say this to all my brothers and sisters in Christ: let us first, honor God as we prepare for Thanksgiving Day, for He alone is our source. Then, let us thank Him for His mercy and grace which came through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who paid the penalty for our sins — past, present, and future. People want to honor God but without giving honor to Jesus. Well think about this: Jesus became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him. Truth be said, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord!
Thank God for your abundance and the simple fact that you are able to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with your family, for many people have nothing, not even family.
Give To the Needy
Finally, those of us who know Christ in His suffering should think about those who are less fortunate than us. Let us have a heart of compassion for those who have to sleep on the street in a cardboard box, on a park bench, or under a bridge Think about the countless number of people who have to get their next meal from the scraps we place in the trash outside our favorite fast food restaurant, and respond to their need by offering them a hot meal, a shirt from your closet that you no longer wear, or a pair of shoes that you don’t wear.
Lastly, for my agnostic friends, I say this — just because you don’t believe God is real, or can’t prove your theory that He does not exist, doesn’t mean He is not real!. Fire burns, even if you don’t believe that it does. Of course you can prove that fire burns by putting your hand in it, but only a fool would do that. So don’t wait until you feel the wrath of God’s judgment to believe that He is real!
Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you and your entire family, and may God bless America. And remember, Thanksgiving Day is meant to honor God, and like the Pilgrims, remember those who helped you survive, because you did not do it by yourself. The bottom line is, it’s not about you.
Post your thoughts — what are you thankful for?