A Thankful Heart in a Thankless Time
There’s a rumor going around that Thanksgiving is on it’s way out. It’s getting squeezed in a mercenary vice grip between commercially successful Halloween and shopping frenzy Christmas.
In commercial terms, Thanksgiving just doesn’t have enough bang for the buck, unless you are selling turkeys. This is, unfortunately, the way of the world.
The movement to lose Thanksgiving began with the encroachment of Christmas into Thanksgiving territory. Christmas music is on the radio two weeks before Thanksgiving. This year, stores announced with a flurry that they would, in fact, be open Thanksgiving day.
-Why wait for Black Friday when you can tear yourself away from the dinner table and zoom to catch the latest bargains?
Taking time to give thanks is important, however. We at Faith beg you to hold fast to a full day celebration of THANKS…Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of gratitude to God. Please help your children understand this.
Here are some tips to keep the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving:
___Explore the history of Thanksgiving with your children. Tell them about the Pilgrims’ first celebration of thanks. Read the historic quote by Gov William Bradford in the original Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1623:
“All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill there to listen to the pastor and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”
___ Give the children 5 hard kernels of corn, explaining that this was often all the Pilgrims were given in their daily rations. Use the kernels to count your blessings.
___ Display a “Thanksgiving Basket” with cards to fill out with what you are thankful for, encouraging the children to write things down. Read these notes at Thanksgiving.
____Think of ways to give a secret “Thank you” to others.
____Invite a lonely person to eat with you.
____Keep “Thankful” Bible Verses in a basket and pull one out to read each day.
____Go around the table and have each person tell what they are thankful for.
The Bible says: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” - 1 Chronicles 16:34
- Don’t let go of Thanksgiving. Take this time to teach your child an attitude of gratitude -- for others AND God!
Here are some bits of history you might want to share this Thanksgiving:
In October 1789, President George Washington proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving to be Thursday, the 26th of November that year. The proclamation declared, in part, that Americans should observe a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
Washington was very dedicated to showing thanks — to Divine Providence, to his wife Martha, to his troops, to the Continental Congress, and to his fellow countrymen. There are many very positive character traits that we assign to him — unflinching integrity, bold and decisive leadership, undying loyalty, and incredible humility – and perhaps chief among them was his reputation for thanking others and giving credit to those who deserved credit.
Read and/or print the entire proclamation HERE.
After George Washington authorized the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789, 74 years passed without another such day of thanks. Then, Abraham Lincoln established the holiday as an annual event in America.
Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation should be shared with your children:
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scripture and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
-- Abraham Lincoln
President Lincoln authorized our annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863 - in the midst of the Civil War.