Nov 25

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Is there anything that is without controversy? Not likely these days! I can remember being taught certain things about Thanksgiving Day in the early years of my schooling. Today, like so many other things, things I was taught are now challenged by this one and that one! It is true, that many facts get lost through the years, and no one living today was present for what we call the first ‘Thanksgiving” in America; therefore, for the sake of the fact that America has a day, one day of the year, which is called “Thanksgiving Day,” let us forgo the controversies.
Here is a little “history” about the unique day in America, that we call Thanksgiving Day. Here is what I found; “Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after Congress requested a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November (Wikipedia, underlines and bold in the quote).
Whatever the case maybe, America has a unique “Thanksgiving Day!” At least this is true in my “eyes!” We can debate and debate, as some are prone to do but America has a “Thanksgiving Day!” This is the result of America’s willingness to see that there is reason to set aside one day of the year, enjoy the bounty, or even the scarcity of the year now present, and be thankful! To the Christian, there is nothing unreasonable about this attitude! This is one “Holiday” that in and of itself, has no religious background; such as Christmas, which is “Christ” “mas,” of which the New Testament knows nothing and came to the world through the Roman Catholic Church. The “teaching of Christ” knows nothing of “mass!” The Latin term “missa” itself was in use by the 6th century; this is like a confession, that it is not of the New Testament! The New Testament being completed by 70 A.D. (To those who hold that the New Testament was not completed until 96 A.D; this is still too early for the “missa” that which was in use by the 6th century!).
Thanksgiving is at the heart of Christianity! When Paul wrote, “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), he then reveals the results, or the means of: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (verse 19). Then, he continued with the thought, still revealing what it means to “be filled with the Spirt;” “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and (Greek word “kai,” which can mean, “even”) the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 20). Therefore, giving thanks, having a thankful attitude is natural to the Christian! It is part of the character of a Christian! Paul also wrote: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). Here, let us take advantage of the fact that we are looking at this verse, to note what some fail to understand. It is the words “be careful for nothing.” The word “careful” (merimnaō) meaning “to be anxious about” “nothing!” This may help: “very concerned about something .” Now for the words, 1) “supplication (deēsis) which means: “a petition” and “request;” 2) “prayer,” the Greek “proseuchē” means: “prayer (worship); and these two works are followed with our word, “thanksgiving;” which is the Greek “eucharistia” and means: “gratitude; actually grateful language (to God, as an act of worship)” (Strong).
It is good that America, at least once a year, stops and has a day of Thanksgiving! I am not deceived, that most of Americans even think of God on this day, but it is still good that America, nevertheless, has such a day! Therefore, as a Christian, let us be grateful to God and give him our thanks for all the blessings we so enjoy both physical and spiritual!

Frank R. Williams

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