True Thanksgiving

“. . .praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just.  And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37 NIV)

Turkey. Tons of food. Football. Family. A newspaper stuffed full of shopping ads and sales.  A long weekend for many.  If you are in retail, it’s the busiest weekend of the season.  Black Friday. 4 a.m. store openings.  Long lines.  Rude customers.  Carts overflowing with merchandise.  Greed.  Selfishness.

I’m old enough to remember when you had to make absolutely certain you had everything you needed for Thanksgiving before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, because the grocery stores, as well as just about every other business in town, closed early on Wednesday so that the employees could be home with their families on the holiday.  If you needed cool whip or milk, the local 7-Eleven was your only option.  People often brought goodies from home to the employees of the gas stations, 7-Eleven, and the few other businesses that had to stay open.  The stores would open for business at the regular time on Friday, but Thursday was set aside for family (and football, of course).

Thanksgiving Eve service at church.  Singing “We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing.”  Taking a benevolence offering to go to a local charity.  Dessert social afterward.  Home to make preparations for the holiday.

I, for one, would love to see Thanksgiving return to the original intent of the holiday.  The year was 1863.  America was in the midst of Civil War.  Troops were deployed and in harm’s way.  Families were praying that their loved ones would be safe.  Others were mourning the loss of loved ones.  Some had jobs; some did not.  The nation was holding together, but unsure of what the next year would bring (does any of this sound familiar?)  The following is an excerpt from the original Thanksgiving proclamation:

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Let’s all take some time to be truly thankful.  God has been very good to us.

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