“We are definitely feeling the economic crunch this year. Yet as we approach Thanksgiving, we are thankful to God for his mercy. We are teaching our children to thank and trust God even during difficult times” (parents)
Thanksgiving celebrations began back in the 1600’s when the Pilgrims offered thanks to God following the harvest season. This practice spread throughout the states. In 1789 George Washington relayed the request of both Houses of Congress ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.’ That year, Thursday, November 26th was the assigned day for Thanksgiving.
The proclamation addressed God’s ‘manifold mercies’; ‘the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed’; as well as God’s care, protection, tranquility, union and plenty. The proclamation also included uniting and offering prayers to the ‘great Lord and Ruler of Nations’ and asking Him to pardon our transgressions and ‘to render our national government a blessing to all the People’ through wisdom and justice.
There were other proclamations over the years and frequent date changes. However, Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation in 1863 is generally considered the beginning of the national Thanksgiving holiday. At that time, the nation had experienced numerous blessings despite the civil war conflict. Lincoln’s Proclamation acknowledged God’s role. ‘No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy’. The Proclamation continues by further acknowledging God. ‘It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as if with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.
Thanksgiving Day Prayers
Thanksgiving is the time to pray and thank God for his continuous grace. Customary Thanksgiving prayer before the Thanksgiving dinner is a must. Examples of Thanksgiving Day’s prayers:
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882)
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.
We Give Thanks
Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.
My Soul, Give Thanks
My soul, give thanks to the Lord, all my being, bless His holy name. My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all His blessings. It is He who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills, Who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion, Who fills your life with good things, renewing your youth like an eagle’s. The Lord does deeds of justice, gives judgment for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses and His deeds to Israel’s sons. The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. His wrath will come to an end, He will not be angry forever. He does not treat us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our faults. For as the heavens are high above the earth so strong is His love for those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons the Lord has pity on those who fear Him. For He knows of what we are made, He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flowers like the flower of the field; The wind blows and he is gone and his place never sees him again. But the love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold Him in fear; His justice reaches out to children’s children when they keep His covenant in truth, when they keep His will in their mind. The Lord has set His sway in heaven, and His kingdom is ruling over all. Give thanks to the Lord, all His angels, mighty in power, fulfilling His word, who heed the voice of His word. Give thanks to the Lord, all His hosts, His servants who do His will. Give thanks to the Lord, all His works, in every place where He rules. My soul, give thanks to the Lord.
PRAYING with the BIBLE
I praise you, LORD, for you raised me up and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD, my God, I cried out to you and you healed me.
LORD, you brought me up from Sheol; you kept me from going down to the pit.
Sing praise to the LORD, you faithful; give thanks to God’s holy name.
For divine anger lasts but a moment; divine favor lasts a lifetime. At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.
Complacent, I once said, “I shall never be shaken.”
LORD, when you showed me favor I stood like the mighty mountains. But when you hid your face I was struck with terror.
To you, LORD, I cried out; with the Lord I pleaded for mercy: “What gain is there from my lifeblood, from my going down to the grave? Does dust give you thanks or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing; you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
With my whole being I sing endless praise to you. O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, because you have given me wisdom and power. Now you have shown me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the king’s dream.”
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his kindness endures forever;
The LORD remembered us in our misery, God’s love endures forever;
Freed us from our foes, God’s love endures forever;
And gives food to all flesh, God’s love endures forever.
Praise the God of heaven, God’s love endures forever.
Q: Why do turkeys always go, “gobble, gobble”?
A: Because they never learned good table manners!
Q: What sound does a space turkey make?
A: Hubble, Hubble, Hubble.