Today is Thanksgiving. “On this day in 1863, expressing gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln announces that the nation will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, 1863.
The speech, which was actually written by Secretary of State William Seward, declared that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be considered an official U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington’s suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes on this day in 1863.
The fourth Thursday of November remained the annual day of Thanksgiving from 1863 until 1939. Then, at the tail-end of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoping to boost the economy by providing shoppers and merchants a few extra days to conduct business between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, moved Thanksgiving to November’s third Thursday. In 1941, however, Roosevelt bowed to Congress’ insistence that the fourth Thursday of November be re-set permanently, without alteration, as the official Thanksgiving holiday” (www.history.com).
Let’s pause just a little bit and think about being thankful. Thanksgiving reminds us we ought to be thankful. Let me share a few things for which I am thankful and then maybe you can add to your list.
I am thankful for my God who loves me so. He tells me and shows me daily. Without His love unending where would any of us be?
I am thankful I have two living, healthy parents. They are my stability. Dad just turned 89 this month. He still is sharp mentally, actively preaching and serving as an elder. Mainly he is a “door keeper in the house of God.” Mom, also, just turned 86. She is such a beautiful and self-sacrificing lady. They love me even when I don’t get to visit them as often as they would like or I would like. But we talk often. However long I have them I will enjoy them. I know I am blessed to still have them alive and well in my life. Many of my friends miss their parents.
I am thankful for my wife and her loving devotion. Her beauty is more than outward. Her grace and dignity are inspiring to me. She is my heart and soul. She gives me life. No one excels her!
I am thankful for my children and their mates. In times of doubt, while raising them, they have shown to be awesome in character and respect for their parents. If my parents are my stability in life they are my motivation.
I am thankful for my eight grandchildren. It seems unbelievable that we have eight, seven boys and one girl. They are our richest blessing. As Solomon said, “Children’s children are the crown of old men…” (Prov. 17:6). They tell us the future matters. They tell us we matter. They love us with a love only innocent babies and children can give. It is like the love of the Heavenly Father.
I am thankful for my health and the health of all my loved ones. I cherish it. I nourish it.
I am thankful for bumps in the road. They remind me I am human. They tell me I am not perfect. They tell me this life is not what really matters. They are the equalizer in life.
I am thankful I work with brethren who love the Lord and show kindness and tenderness to me.
I am thankful for forgiveness and salvation. For without either, what else is there?
As you devour that turkey, ham and dressing remember God who has so richly blessed you. As you look into the faces of those little ones remember to smile. They are your heritage. As you look into the beautiful eyes of your mate thank God for his/her loving kindness. As you bow in prayer give God all the praise, glory and honor. Don’t ask for anything today. Just give Him thanks!
And thank you for being fans of Focus Online Magazine. The editors are so thankful you read what we write. Thank you for considering what we have to say.
by Rickie Jenkins