Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Roots of Thanksgiving: Keep Christ in Thanksgiving

Image by aronki via Flickr
     Sarah and David argued. "Lincoln invented Thanksgiving," my grandson said.

     "No he didn't, the Pilgrims did," said Sarah.

     They debated and my grandson ended in tears. "You don't understand what I'm saying."

     This argument continued in the manner that only my dogged grandson could maintain, so Sarah emailed his teacher and asked for the facts. She discovered, Lincoln did "invent" Thanksgiving. In 1863 he made a proclamation declaring the third Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving. However, because of our new interpretations of the First Amendment, David couldn't hear the complete story. (And his mother wasn't entirely wrong).

     Lincoln unified the disparate celebrations into one national holiday to honor "the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies." He didn't end there. He said, "(these) are the gracious gifts of the Most High God...(who is) dealing with us in anger for our sins."

     And the school didn't talk about Washington's comments about Thanksgiving. In 1789 George Washington assigned November 26 "to be devoted by the people of these States 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."
     The recognition of God's favor in our lives is still politically stated probably because of our hubris--God of course favors US. However, Washington, like Lincoln, went a step further. He said we should ask that, "the great Lord and ruler of Nations... (would) pardon our national and other transgressions."

     Can you imagine our leaders today acknowledging the fact that we've transgressed? I think we need to remember 2 Chron 7:14. "(I)f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

     And David, your mother wasn't entirely wrong. Our first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims to thank the Creator for His blessings. I think we need to keep, Christ not only in Christmas, but Thanksgiving as well.

(The quotes were taken from Mark Galli. "The Enemy Within." Christianity Today 18 November 2002. (76).

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