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Posts tagged ‘Thanksgiving Day’

The True Story of Thanksgiving

On the fourth Thursday of this month citizens of the United States will celebrate the much-beloved holiday of Thanksgiving.  It’s supposed to be an occasion for grateful reflection upon how blessed we are as a people, but how many American Christians, let alone Americans in general, understand the true origin and meaning of this annual day on the calendar?

The majority of Americans, which likely includes a large number of Christians, may well think the origin of the celebration of Thanksgiving is all about the first pilgrims to the New World (later to be named America) celebrating that they had arrived safely here.  While that may be a worthy reason, it’s not the real the story.

Had it not been for the grace of God providing help for them through the gracious contributions of the indigenous people living around them they all might have died.  As it was, a sizable number of their small community had died from illness anyway during that difficult first winter.

Therefore, after harvesting a bountiful crop of various produce and getting better established in their new homeland during the next year, the pilgrims felt especially grateful to God for their survival.  Because they were all very devout Christians, setting aside a feast day to thank God for His goodness was a natural expression of their gratitude.  However, it would be 168 years later on November 26, 1789, before George Washington proclaimed it as a national day of observance for the new nation.

President Lincoln made it an annual observance beginning on the last Thursday of November in 1863, but to support retailers by extending the shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, President Franklin Roosevelt changed the annual date to the fourth Thursday in November in 1939, and it has remained unchanged from that date since then.

In America’s politically correct educational environment today where anything even hinting at Christian influence in America’s past or present is eschewed by the anti-Christian establishment, precious few people (including Christians) have even the slightest idea of America’s Christian heritage.

In fact, the day may come in the not-too-distant future when writing or hosting these facts may be forbidden and even dangerous.  So-called “hate speech” laws have already been enacted around the world in parts of Europe, Canada and even America prohibiting critical speech against certain groups such as homosexuals and Muslims which may be labeled as hate speech.  Unfortunately, the definition of “hate” by these laws is so ambiguous that anything negative may be identified as hateful, thus putting Bible-believing Christians, in particular, in a very precarious position.

Simply quoting the Bible’s statements against homosexuality or pointing out the moral and theological inconsistencies of Islam with Biblical Christianity (such as loving your enemies and rejecting both murder and vengeance) can bring on the wrath of either of these constituencies or their various sympathizers. It appears that it’s socially sanctioned for anyone in either of these groups to blaspheme God or Jesus’ saving work or to spew hate-filled epithets at Bible-believing Christians, but it’s not allowed for Christians to espouse their strong beliefs in the Bible as God’s final Word on anything.

Maybe we American Christians had better be especially thankful to God for our dearly-held freedoms of speech and religion as we observe this year’s Thanksgiving Day, since we have no real assurance that we will still have these same freedoms in the future.

What about you?  What do you have to be thankful for, and have you taken the opportunity to thank God both in prayer and in an open pronouncement to others for His goodness to you?

Expressing gratitude is very important to God, as we can learn from a careful reading of His holy Word. One  excellent example is the story of Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers which prompted the thankful response from the apparently lone Samaritan in the group (see Luke 17:11-19).  To quote another of Jesus’ statements in another  context – “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37 NKJV).

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Central Church hosts Thanksgiving meal

Sharing a communal meal is a Thanksgiving tradition.

History tells us one of the first gratitude gatherings occurred in 1621 in Plymouth, Mass., when Pilgrims shared a meal with Native Americans.

Expressing thanks for blessings continues when Americans gather Nov. 28 to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Some observe the national holiday at home, but at Central Church, as well as other locations in in Beaver County, it’s also become tradition for families, friends, neighbors and even strangers to gather at churches or community centers to share a communal meal. It’s a chance for individuals, couples and families to unite in fellowship.

At Central, our meals — served by volunteers — are free, and no advance reservations are required.

We believe that no one should be alone on Thanksgiving.  Come join us!

 

Central United Methodist Church

Where: 1227 Sixth Ave. in Beaver Falls

When: 4 to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free to all.

Reservations: Not required.

Information: 724-846-3474.

 

 

 

Central Church hosts Thanksgiving meal

Sharing a communal meal is a Thanksgiving tradition.

History tells us one of the first gratitude gatherings occurred in 1621 in Plymouth, Mass., when Pilgrims shared a meal with Native Americans.

Expressing thanks for blessings continues when Americans gather Nov. 28 to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Some observe the national holiday at home, but at Central Church, as well as other locations in in Beaver County, it’s also become tradition for families, friends, neighbors and even strangers to gather at churches or community centers to share a communal meal. It’s a chance for individuals, couples and families to unite in fellowship.

At Central, our meals — served by volunteers — are free, and no advance reservations are required.

We believe that no one should be alone on Thanksgiving.  Come join us!

 

Central United Methodist Church

Where: 1227 Sixth Ave. in Beaver Falls

When: 4 to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free to all.

Reservations: Not required.

Information: 724-846-3474.

 

 

 

Central Church hosts Thanksgiving meal

Sharing a communal meal is a Thanksgiving tradition.

History tells us one of the first gratitude gatherings occurred in 1621 in Plymouth, Mass., when Pilgrims shared a meal with Native Americans.

Expressing thanks for blessings continues when Americans gather Nov. 28 to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Some observe the national holiday at home, but at Central Church, as well as other locations in in Beaver County, it’s also become tradition for families, friends, neighbors and even strangers to gather at churches or community centers to share a communal meal. It’s a chance for individuals, couples and families to unite in fellowship.

At Central, our meals — served by volunteers — are free, and no advance reservations are required.

We believe that no one should be alone on Thanksgiving.  Come join us!

 

Central United Methodist Church

Where: 1227 Sixth Ave. in Beaver Falls

When: 4 to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free to all.

Reservations: Not required.

Information: 724-846-3474.

 

 

 

The True Story of Thanksgiving

On the fourth Thursday of this month citizens of the United States will celebrate the much-beloved holiday of Thanksgiving.  It’s supposed to be an occasion for grateful reflection upon how blessed we are as a people, but how many American Christians, let alone Americans in general, understand the true origin and meaning of this annual day on the calendar?

The majority of Americans, which likely includes a large number of Christians, may well think the origin of the celebration of Thanksgiving is all about the first pilgrims to the New World (later to be named America) celebrating that they had arrived safely here.  While that may be a worthy reason, it’s not the real the story.

Had it not been for the grace of God providing help for them through the gracious contributions of the indigenous people living around them they all might have died.  As it was, a sizable number of their small community had died from illness anyway during that difficult first winter.

Therefore, after harvesting a bountiful crop of various produce and getting better established in their new homeland during the next year, the pilgrims felt especially grateful to God for their survival.  Because they were all very devout Christians, setting aside a feast day to thank God for His goodness was a natural expression of their gratitude.  However, it would be 168 years later on November 26, 1789, before George Washington proclaimed it as a national day of observance for the new nation.

President Lincoln made it an annual observance beginning on the last Thursday of November in 1863, but to support retailers by extending the shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, President Franklin Roosevelt changed the annual date to the fourth Thursday in November in 1939, and it has remained unchanged from that date since then.

In America’s politically correct educational environment today where anything even hinting at Christian influence in America’s past or present is eschewed by the anti-Christian establishment, precious few people (including Christians) have even the slightest idea of America’s Christian heritage.

In fact, the day may come in the not-too-distant future when writing or hosting these facts may be forbidden and even dangerous.  So-called “hate speech” laws have already been enacted around the world in parts of Europe, Canada and even America prohibiting critical speech against certain groups such as homosexuals and Muslims which may be labeled as hate speech.  Unfortunately, the definition of “hate” by these laws is so ambiguous that anything negative may be identified as hateful, thus putting Bible-believing Christians, in particular, in a very precarious position.

Simply quoting the Bible’s statements against homosexuality or pointing out the moral and theological inconsistencies of Islam with Biblical Christianity (such as loving your enemies and rejecting both murder and vengeance) can bring on the wrath of either of these constituencies or their various sympathizers. It appears that it’s socially sanctioned for anyone in either of these groups to blaspheme God or Jesus’ saving work or to spew hate-filled epithets at Bible-believing Christians, but it’s not allowed for Christians to espouse their strong beliefs in the Bible as God’s final Word on anything.

Maybe we American Christians had better be especially thankful to God for our dearly-held freedoms of speech and religion as we observe this year’s Thanksgiving Day, since we have no real assurance that we will still have these same freedoms in the future.

What about you?  What do you have to be thankful for, and have you taken the opportunity to thank God both in prayer and in an open pronouncement to others for His goodness to you?

Expressing gratitude is very important to God, as we can learn from a careful reading of His holy Word. One  excellent example is the story of Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers which prompted the thankful response from the apparently lone Samaritan in the group (see Luke 17:11-19).  To quote another of Jesus’ statements in another  context – “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37 NKJV).

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

What are the origins of Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving CornucopiaI’d stuffed many a turkey before I really understood Thanksgiving. Oh sure, I knew we were supposed to be thankful, and once I became a Christian I knew who we were thanking. But the Thanksgiving story is more than just the tale of Pilgrims and Indians. It’s a portrait of God’s hand in bringing people together to accomplish a specific purpose.

In the early 1600s the Wampanoag (Wam-pa-NO-ag) Native Americans inhabited the coast of what we now call New England. They raised crops, lived close to the ocean in summer for seafood, and moved inland in winter to set up hunting camps. Their encounters with Europeans over the years were mostly friendly. But there was one exception: In 1614 Captain Thomas Hunt captured several Wampanoag, along with a Patuxet Native American named Squanto, to be sold into slavery in Spain. A Spanish monk purchased Squanto’s freedom, taught him Spanish, introduced him to Jesus Christ and sent him to England. In 1619, Squanto returned to his native land, only to find that his tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic. Thereafter he made his home with the Wampanoag.

Meanwhile, in 1608, a British group called Separatists fled to Leyden, Holland. There they found religious freedom, but also poverty, grueling work hours, and a secular culture that threatened to undo the values they had carefully instilled in their children. In 1620, they sold all their belongings to help finance their journey to America. On the Mayflower’s voyage, the Separatists were joined by another group of people bound for America. They called these people Strangers. The two groups, 102 people altogether, were called Pilgrims.

Their journey lasted nine weeks. In one of those divine “accidents” that change the course of history, the ship lost its course and landed far north of its destination at what we now know as Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Once outside the territory covered by the King’s Charter, the Pilgrims became responsible for their own government, and so they wrote a set of laws called The Mayflower Compact. On December 21, 1620, they began their new life at the place they named Plymouth.

The winter was devastating. Wind whipped through their settlement and sleet and snow chilled them to the bone. Half of the Pilgrims died. But the Separatists clung to their faith; not one person chose to return to England when the Mayflower made her return voyage.

Spring brought unexpected relief—the help of Squanto. He taught them how to grow corn, use fertilizer, stalk deer, and catch fish. William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth, wrote that Squanto was “a special instrument sent of God for good beyond our expectations.” And so their first harvest was good. Governor Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to God, and the Pilgrims invited their Native American friends. Chief Massasoit and 90 members of his tribe came, along with Squanto, bearing venison and wild turkeys for everyone to share. Both groups feasted, played games, ran races, and showed their prowess with bows and arrows and muskets. With so much to be grateful for, the Pilgrims celebrated that first Thanksgiving for three days!

Adapted from “Let’s Talk Turkey,” by Barbara Curtis, Kyria.com. Click here to read the original article in its entirety.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day

Happy ThanksgivingKey Bible Verses:  May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us. May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere.  – Psalm 67:1-2

Dig Deeper:  Psalm 67

Scripture reveals a three-stage dynamic of blessing, which God calls each of us to enter:

  1. Receive the blessing of God. When God created humanity, He blessed us for a life of fruitful love. He made us for relationship with himself. Though we quickly rejected God’s love, He never gave up on us. Since our fall God has undertaken a massive re-blessing project in the world, and He wants to include each one of us.
  2. Return blessing to God through worship. Once we receive deeply into our hearts the blessing of God’s love, his Spirit within us prompts us to make a return. We bless God back. The more we learn to know the God who blesses, the more praise we have to render. And the more textured and passionate our worship, the more we taste God’s joy and the intimacy of our relationship deepens.
  3. Reflect the love of God by blessing others. We learn to look at people as God does, and we act toward them accordingly: in love and mercy. We begin to live to bless. We participate in God’s plan to extend his blessing to the ends of the earth. As we bless, the deep joy of God wells up through daily life.

—Gerrit Dawson in The Blessing Life

My Response: I will spend time reflecting on how the cycle of blessing plays out in my life.

Thought to Apply: Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.—W. T. Purkiser(pastor, scholar, writer)

Adapted from The Blessing Life by Gerrit Dawson (IVP, 2013)

Prayer:  Lord, please help me not to be distracted by false definitions of blessing, but instead, to live fully in the reality that true blessing is found in a deepening relationship with you.