Thanksgiving Reflections

Turk 007

Thanksgiving has been a central idea in American history and culture, even before there was an America.  Of course all Americans have learned about the first Thanksgiving back in 1621 with the Pilgrims and the Indians, but there’s much more in our heritage that relates.  From the time of our first President, George Washington, we have had proclamations of Thanksgiving.  Abraham Lincoln had one that was quite famous in 1863, and Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the years that followed.

I know that many today might want to argue this, but I think that this notion of Thanksgiving has had a profound effect on our Nation.  Here’s why:  Giving thanks both as an individual and as a Nation requires humility and a recognition that there is an Authority greater than any human authority.  For the leader of a Nation to ask the people to pause to thank God means that they recognize that their own government is not the source of all good things.

An individual must come to the same conclusion. He or she is not the great source of all goodness or all success; there is One who is greater, and as we pause to thank Him, we acknowledge that He is greater than we.  It is clear that our early leaders believed in this way, and it is equally clear that our people in general did as well.  this is why many people throughout the years have suspected that God blessed the USA more than He blessed many other Nations of the world.  Now I’m not so quick to jump in with a big “Amen” to that, but I cannot deny that He has blessed us greatly.

Sadly, however, I’m not convinced that our leaders and our people in general still hold to these beliefs as they once did.  I’ve been listening in recent weeks to merchants complain that Thanksgiving comes too late this year; it’s going to hurt Christmas sales.  Then I hear ads that announce that many retailers will be open on Thanksgiving day so that we can shop for Christmas early.  People I know speak of their plans for great festivities and talk about their family time on Thanksgiving, and look horrified when I mention giving thanks…

Maybe it’s always been this way and I’m just looking at our past with rose-colored glasses; I know this happens when people think of the “good old days.”  I wonder, have we lost our focus, or did we never have it at all?

Who can really say?

I know this for sure, however.  If we decide to have a day set aside for giving thanks and we take it seriously, this observance will be preserved for future generations.  If we do this and speak openly of thankfulness to God with our neighbors and friends, they might get the idea, and what once was just might, by God’s grace be rekindled in our country.  Yes, you’re right, it probably is a long shot.  Isn’t it a shot worth taking?


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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18 Responses to Thanksgiving Reflections

  1. nrichmyleads says:

    Thanksgiving is perhaps the only true Christian holiday, it cannot be traced back to pagan rites and rituals before Christ as can Christmas and Easter and Halloween or New Years. Celebrating the bountiful blessings we enjoy in this nation because we have traditionally known God as a provider may get lost in some households but not in mine. It is nice to draw attention to it once a year on a grander level than at other times but Being Thankful is more to be a part of our daily lives. I am reminded of the Song “Count your Blessings” If we allow ourselves to see what God has done for us, how can we be anything but thankful. I have often parted from people saying “Expect the best, Do your best, and Thank God for taking care of the rest!”. Sometimes I change the order of the first two phrases but these three phrases usually sum up any counseling I may have done during our conversation. I rarely get any open disagreement about the efficacy or the appropriateness of it. Especially if there is any level of belief of the person I have just witnessed to. And I do not have many conversations that do not reflect my own thankfulness to God if they last more than a brief hello and small talk. Of course I do not blame God for events fomented by the god of this world Jn 10:10 Insurance forms to the contrary, Acts of God are acts of god not my heavenly Fathers. Selah.

  2. Wm Haney says:

    You have heard my previous rants on how I feel about Thanksgiving being squeezed between Halloween and Christmas commercialism hoopla. I will refrain from that. I wonder how many families will even pray before the dinner? Will even in casual one on one conversation bring up the meaning of the holiday? Or even just think alone? Yea, to me it is fine to think of how the Packers-Lions and the other games will go or checking out the Garfield balloon at the Macy’s parade. Cool, go for it. But even take a minute to give thanks? It is not brain surgery. Commercialism and even television has a play in the lack of the true meaning of thanks. Even if you cannot bring up God, you can coyly get around it with the message of what Thanksgiving was all about. I will make sure I find time despite working a long day on Thanksgiving, an extra half hour infact.

    Pardon the day late reply…

  3. signaldad says:

    Reblogged this on signaldad and commented:
    Thanksgiving. What a difference it can make in an individual or in a Nation. A little humility is a good thing. Why not have some everyday.

  4. Dwight A. Dalrymple says:

    I agree 100%.

  5. Julia says:

    The following statement will not be accepted, but When we are born again God’s opinion will stand for all eternity and anything opposite of God in Heaven will not stand.Man has always had to have this feast day or that feast day and by not opening scripture’s to see if it’s of man or did God ordain such events as Christmas,Halloween,Thanksgiving etc…In Gods eyes there is no such thing as one day being more important over another,but man feels we need to do such a thing. Thanksgiving is an APPOINTED FEAST DAY of man not God (Isaiah 1:13,14). Jesus was not of the world, he plainly says his called out servants are not of the world either.(John 17:14-20). To put one day above the other as special is of the world. “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain”.(Galatians 4:8-11). When we follow the Saviour we do not live as the world does, we are then an example to others of the Fathers will. If anyone is tired of following all the world has to offer then maybe it’s time to turn to Jesus who tells us to come unto to him who labour and are heavy laden and find the rest for your soul you’ve been searching for. To know the truth of when Jesus really was born check out:

    God Bless this website,I really enjoyed reading it.

    • Don Merritt says:

      You make a valid point, Julia, and thanks for making it. I wonder. since we as Christians should be thankful to God every day, if something like Thanksgiving might serve as a testimony for the world to see, and maybe get a clue from?

      Thanks again for a great point!

  6. People Empowerment Project says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Don.

    Please share any ideas you have regarding our mission statement to offer gifts to those who contribute financially to the needs of these children and youth. I have a large library of books to give away when we receive gifts to send to them.


  7. I am thankful there are people in this country who still value gratitude and the power it can hold. I enjoyed your Thanksgiving post very much. Thank you for popping in to my blog as well. God Bless.

  8. Your Website/Blog is Beautiful.
    Not everyone acknowledges God and the many blessings He provides for us through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. But, keep up the good work and I’m sure others will get the message and Be THANKFUL!

  9. Pingback: Guest Post: Continuing Thoughts on Thanksgiving | Pastor Appreciation Gifts Blog

  10. Well said, Brother Don! It did my heart good to read your words. May your blog touch many hearts for Jesus!

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